Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II paid a visit to Wimbledon for the first time in 33 years on Thursday, taking pre-match tennis lunch with some of the elites of the sport.
The Queen, who last visited the All England club in 1977 — the year Virginia Wade won the women’s singles title for Britain — was welcomed by thousands of fans and subjects who lined the pathway from court number one, passing down toward the Millennium building on a sun-drenched morning.
Once inside the player-media complex after her 20-minute walkabout, the 84-year-old monarch met a receiving line of the world’s tennis elite, including the top four seeds on the men’s and women’s side plus icons such as Billie Jean King and nine-time champion Martina Navratilova.
American Andy Roddick, three-time finalist at Wimbledon, replaced Andy Murray in the receiving line, with the Scot due to start the afternoon with his second-round match against Finn Jarkko Nieminen.
That was to be followed by women’s second seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark facing Kai-Chen Chang of Taiwan while 2008 winner Rafael Nadal was later to face Dutchman Robin Haase.
Once the Queen made her way across the skybridge connecting the player lawn to the Centre Court complex, a parade of well-dressed players followed, with Roger Federer looking especially prepared for the occasion in a dark suit and white shirt for his later lunch date with the monarch.
During her stroll, the Queen, accompanied by All England club chairman Tim Phillips, paused to watch a demonstration by ten young hopefuls from the club’s Junior Tennis Initiative, designed to finally produce some British players for the future.
The monarch was also presented with miniatures of the men’s and women’s trophies.