Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Will the Duchess of Cambridge become the new Wimbledon patron?
There have been reports that the Duchess of Cambridge will succeed Queen Elizabeth II as patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Racket Club, better known as Wimbledon. This has led to comments that the Duchess, who is a keen fan of tennis, will be presenting the trophies to the winners. However, the presentation job has been largely carried out by the Club's president, and not the patron.
Members of the British Royal family have supported the All-England championships since 1907, when the Prince of Wales and his wife, Mary visited the club, then located on Worple Road in London. The Prince of Wales was asked he would be accept the presidency of the club, and he said yes. He remained the president until 1910, when he succeeded to the throne as King George V. He remained the Club's Patron.
Queen Mary loved tennis, and she and her husband opened the Church road ground in 1922. They were accompanied by their sons, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York. In 1926, the Duke of York competed in Men's Doubles with Louis Greig, but they were defeated in the first round.
It is the Kent branch of the Royal Family that has the strongest ties to the All-England club. In 1929 Prince George (later the Duke of Kent) became the President of the All-England club. He remained in that position until his death in 1942. His wife, Marina, the Duchess of Kent, took over the position, and attended Wimbledon for the next 23 years. She died in August 1968, and her elder son, Edward, the Duke of Kent, succeeded her as President. He and his wife, Katharine, have presented the trophies since then, although the Duchess retired from this duty several years ago.
No official announcement has been made regarding new patronages for the Duchess of Cambridge. A Wimbledon spokesman said: "They will let us know when the change happens. We will just be told. Until we hear otherwise I can only assume that the Duke will hand out prizes as usual."
The Duke of Kent turned 80 years old last October. Has anyone considered the possibility that he is planning to step down as President of the All England Lawn Tennis and Racket Club, and the Duchess of Cambridge will be named as his successor. Isn't it more plausible that the Queen, who is the Sovereign, will remain Patron until she dies, and her son, King Charles III, will be the new patron.
I would think that being the President of the All-England Lawn Tennis and Racket Club includes more duties than handing out the trophies to the winners. The President also attends meetings and other events, which have been reported in the Court Circular. The President is the working role.