Saturday, 30 July 2016

The royal World Cup hat trick

The Queen presents the World Cup to England captain, Bobby Moore, on July 30th 1966 at Wembley
(photo credit: By National Media Museum via Wikimedia Commons)

It’s fifty years today since England won the World Cup and one of the most famous royal photos of all time was taken. Five decades on there is still something rather special about that image of the Queen handing over the Jules Rimet trophy to Bobby Moore. That picture is part of British history but it’s also rather rare. For the Queen is one of just three European monarchs to have presented football’s most famous trophy. To mark the anniversary of England’s famous win, here’s a hat trick of royals who have handed over the World Cup.

Elizabeth II was the second monarch to present the World Cup. The first off the royal bench for this honour was King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden who handed over the Jules Rimet trophy to Brazil in 1958 after their first win in the competition that they would dominate for decades. But it was a bitter sweet moment for the King of Sweden who had just watched his country’s team lose the final 5-2.

Eight years later, the World Cup presentation fell to the Queen who had been present at Wembley throughout the famous final between England and Germany. The team was led to their 4-2 victory by Bobby Moore who discreetly held the trophy in the air before running on to the pitch to join his team mates for celebration.  The moment when Elizabeth II handed the Jules Rimet trophy to the West Ham superstar remains one of the iconic images of her record breaking reign.

The final monarch, so far, to have presented the World Cup was a football fan and then some and his moment in the sporting spotlight came at the end of a tournament that had been hugely important for his country. Juan Carlos of Spain is also the only king to have yet presented the new World Cup, the Jules Rimet trophy having been given to Brazil for good when they claimed it for a third time. Spain hosted the world cup in 1982, its first major sporting event since the death of Franco and the restoration of democracy.


It was a big moment for Juan Carlos, seven years into his reign, and for Spain and the competition was judged a big success.  The Spanish king presented the World Cup to Italy who had beaten West Germany 3-1 to take the title. On a balmy night at the Bernabeu, Juan Carlos’ royal star was still in the ascendant and for a football lover like him this was a moment to savour.  It might be some time before we see another royal present this famous trophy but on the fiftieth anniversary of England’s win, there’s a chance to savour that famous presentation and regal photo one more time.

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