Bukayo Saka hailed his ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity of meeting King Charles

Bukayo Saka hailed meeting King Charles as a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity after being given time off from training to meet His Majesty.

The Arsenal winger was training with the England camp ahead of their Nations League clash with Italy in June when the rare honour arose. He was fortunately given the day off from training by manager Gareth Southgate to meet the royal, who at the time was the Prince of Wales.

Saka arrived at Buckingham Palace with around 500 other invited guests at a reception hosted by King Charles and the now Queen consort Camilla to celebrate the contribution of people of the Commonwealth in the UK. And the 21-year-old was overwhelmed with joy at the opportunity.

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He said at the time: “It is an honour to be invited here. Obviously I know how valuable the royal family are and to be able to be here to meet them.

“Obviously I had to leave the England camp, so I have to thank Gareth for letting me do that because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I am so happy.”

He added: “I did not have to convince Gareth. He understood how important this is and how special this is, so he was happy for me to come. Not everyone has the honour to be invited here. It is something that I will remember forever.”

Saka has represented England 18 times to date, scoring four goals in the process. He was part of the England team that reached the Euro 2020 final, where he was racially abused after missing the decisive penalty against Italy.

The youngster went on to silence his abusers by winning Arsenal’s 2021/22 player of the season award for the second year in a row. He has scored just one so far this campaign but has nevertheless played a crucial role in taking the Gunners to the top of the Premier League.

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