Wimbledon The Royal Connection2011-06-20T13:36:47Z
British royalty has been associated with the championships since 1907 when the Prince of Wales, accompanied by Princess Mary, visited the Worple Road ground on Saturday, 29th June. They stayed until a thunderstorm put an end to the day’s play, having watched the last of W.V. Eaves v L.H. Escombe, Miss M.G. Sutton v Miss A.M. Morton and part of a doubles contest.
The Prince remained President of the club until his accession to the throne as King George V in 1910. In 1929 Prince George became President of the Club and so began the long association of the Kent family. When he died in 1942 his widow, the Duchess of Kent (later Princess Marina) succeeded in the post and up to her death in 1968 attended 23 successive years, many of them most days.
In 1947 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth were present to watch the Gentlemen’s Singles final. Queen Elizabeth II visited The Championships on Saturday, 6th July, 1957, Friday, 6th July, 1962 and during her Silver Jubilee year, on Friday, 1st July, 1977, on the occasion of The Championship’s Centenary. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, attended in 1949, 1953, 1954, 1957, 1960 and 1977. The Prince of Wales was present in 1970.
Happily the tradition continues with the present Duke of Kent, who succeeded his mother in 1969. He and the Duchess of Kent attend frequently each year and present the trophies. Other members of the Royal family are regular visitors.
Queen Elazabeth II visited the play in 1957, 1962 and 1977, her visit last year was met with great happiness with some people even bursting out in tears. She also met Serena Williams and Roger Federer.
The very first royal visit to Wimbledon was on Monday, 15th July, 1895, when the Crown Princess Stephanie of Austria, accompanied by Prince Batthyany Strattmann, witnessed the Gentlemen’s Doubles Challenge Round.