Sunday, 10 July 2016

Royals at Wimbledon 2016 as Andy Murray wins

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Wimbledon Men's Final where Andy Murray was crowned champion
(photo Wimbledon Twitter)

It's been a special day for British tennis at its spiritual home and as the sun shone and champions poured out of every court, there was plenty of royal cheer in the celebrations. The Duke of Kent has spent several Wimbeldon finals as a lone royal in the big box above Centre Court but today he couldn't move for regal relations as Andy Murray claimed a second singles title and Heather Watson became a Grand Slam champion for the second time. It was a right royal turnout as Wimbledon 2016 came to an end.

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It was a good job there was so much anticipation for Andy Murray's match against Milos Raonic of Canada as the royal guest list threatened, briefly, to outsparkle it when it was released in the run up to the final,

The Duke of Kent, President of the All England Club, welcomed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, Princess Alexandra and the Duchess of Gloucester to the big match. There were also chairs for the Prime Minister, David Cameron, and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

There was Hollywood royalty there too as Bradley Cooper, now as much part of the Wimbledon final as strawberries, cream, Pimms and champagne took his seat alongside that Benedict Cumberbatch. This was about as stellar as a royal box gets.

The match was intense, fast moving and in the end a fairytale ending for the All England Club as for the first time since 1935, a British man became a double champion.

But while he might not have been the most famous royal in the box this afternoon, when it comes to Wimbledon only one duke rules. The Duke of Kent trod a well worn path and stepped onto Centre Court to hand over the famous trophy to Andy Murray.

There have been reports that the Duchess of Cambridge will take over this duty in years to come. That may be but there is something rather comforting and wonderful about this low key tradition that every year marks the high point of summer. The Duke of Kent is following in his mother's footsteps - Princess Marina loved tennis - and to see him hand over the trophy brings echoes of a past long gone and continuity in a modern era.

We still got to see William and Kate with Andy Murray. After the match was over, William and Kate headed behind the scenes to meet the new double Wimbledon champion  and congratulate him in person.

The royals had more to celebrate just hours later as they welcomed Heather Watson into the box for the presentation of the Mixed Doubles trophies - she won the title alongside Henri Kontinen of Wimbledon.

That title is traditionally the last handed out at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club as its annual competition comes to an end. Play will start again next year with the Gentleman's Singles Title Holder, Andy Murray, stepping on to court to defend his title. And given the excitement this second win has caused, we can be sure of a right royal turnout then as well.

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