07/03/2012

Who is worthy of Wimbledon's Royal Box?

Royal box
Spectators in the Royal Box applaud Switzerland's Roger Federer last week, led by Prince Charles, who was attending Wimbledon for the first time in 42 years. (AFP/GettyImages)

At the south end of Centre Court in the hallowed Wimbledon tennis grounds, there is a group of seats that known as the Royal Box.

It is a very special place within a very special place. Since 1922, its 74 seats -- dark green Lloyd Loom wicker chairs -- have been reserved for those deemed to be worthy of watching the world greatest tennis stars in the company of royalty. Invariably, 'who's-in-the-box' draws almost as much interest as the matches themselves.

As Wimbledon rolls to its climax this week, the guests in the Royal Box have covered the full range of VIPs.

It is proof that you don't have to royal to be royal. But you most definitely have to be special. Wimbledon describes its occupents as "British and overseas Royal families, heads of government, the world of tennis, commercial partners, British armed forces prominent, media organisations, supporters of British tennis and other walks of life."

Invitations come from the chairman of the All-England Lawn Tennis Club, based on recommendations from members. Guests are served lunch, tea and drinks at the end of the day. The dress code is "smart" and women are asked not to wear hats "as they tend to obscure the vision of those seated behind them."

Queen Elizabeth's cousin, the Duke of Kent, is president of the club and, in a fit of common sense, told players 10 years ago that they could henceforth ignore the custom of bowing to members of the Royal Family in the box. The exceptions are the Queen and Prince Charles.

So, who has been worthy of the Royal Box this year? Here is a sampling thus far:

SPORTING ROYALS

Boris Becker (R) greets former Romanian Wimbledon men's singles finalist Ilie Nastase
Retired tennis players Ilie Nastase , left, and Boris Becker. Nastase was a finalist in 1972 and '76, while Becker is a three-time champion. (AP)

Martina Navratilova
Martina Navratilova is a nine-time champion at Wimbledon in singles, from 1978 to 1990. She also won seven doubles titles at the famed London facility. (AFP/GettyImages)

Judy Murray and Kim Sears
The mother of British tennis star Andy Murray, Judy, left, and his girlfriend Kim Sears attend his fourth round match between against Marin Cilic of Croatia on Tuesday. Murray won. (Getty Images)

Mirka Federer wife of Roger 1
Mirka Federer watches as her husband Roger beats Fabio Fognini of Italy. (Getty Images)

Nicklaus 1
Retired golfer Jack Nicklaus accepts the applause of the audience from the Royal Box. ( AP)

British golfer Paul Casey and girlfriend,TV host Pollyanna Woodward
British golfer Paul Casey  and his girlfriend, television host Pollyanna Woodward, arrive in the Royal Box on July 2. (AFP/GettyImages)

Sir Jackie Stewart
Ex-Formula One racing driver Sir Jackie Stewart  is seen in the Royal Box on the first day of the tournament on June 25 (AFP/GettyImages)

Wales and Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs (R) chats to former British gold medalist skeleton athlete Amy WIlliams
Manchester United football player Ryan Giggs  talks to Olympic gold medal winner Amy Williams in the Royal Box. Williams won gold for Britain in skelton at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. (Reuters)

CELEBRITY ROYALS

J.K. Rowling (L) with her husband Neil Murray
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling with her husband Neil Murray in the Royal Box (AFP/GettyImages).

Dustin Hoffman (L) and former US tennis player Justin Gimelstob
Actor Dustin Hoffman and former U.S. tennis player Justin Gimelstob in the Royal Box. (GettyImages)

Richard Branson and mother Eve
Sir Richard Branson brought along his mother Eve to the Royal Box. (Getty Images)

Editor of American Vogue, Anna Wintour
Anna Wintour, the British-born editor-in-chief of American 'Vogue', at Centre Court. (GettyImages)

CLOSE TO, OR REAL, ROYALS

Former British Prime Minister John Major
Former British Prime Minister John Major, left, watches from the Royal Box.(AFP/GettyImages)

Pippa Middleton (C) sister of Britain's Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, and her brother James
Pippa Middleton, sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, and her brother James, right, get the royal treatment on their visit to Centre Court on June 28. (AFP/GettyImages)

Carole and Michael Middleton
Carole and Michael Middleton, parents of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, hand out a few pointers from their Royal Box perch. (AFP/GettyImages)

Edward, Duke of Kent
Edward, Duke of Kent, is a regular in the Royal Box, fulfilling his role as president of the All-England Club. (AFP/GettyImages)

Prince charles and camilla
Prince Charles, making his first appearance at Wimbledon since 1970, was joined by his wife Camilla, in the Royal Box for the Roger Federer-Fabio Fognini match on June 27. (AP)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Did anyone else notice Bear Grylls hanging out behind Roger Federer's wife?
Bahahaha how is he not included in the caption

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