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The Day The Queen Of England Visited The All England Lawn Tennis Club By Alix Ramsay

10sBalls Shares A Great Story By Alix Ramsay About The Last Visit The Queen Of England Made To Wimbledon, We Pulled This Out Of The Vault Again



Latest Editors Note: Out Of Storage Again! Alix is truly one of the best tennis writers of this generation. All of the Scots know her, most of the Brits and not enough of the rest of the world. Yes, she is that good that you all should enjoy her tilt on tennis related things.

Editors note: Alix Ramsay out of the vault. We had to add about the day THE QUEEN came to Wimbledon. The story Billie Jean King recalled for her last chat with BALLY.


Breaking news: 10sballs.com has seen the Queen. We may be a fairly new organisation, but we have been up close and personal with royalty. OK, we were up close and personal with about 38,000 other people when it happened, but we did it.

It was also a personal first for yours truly. I may be considerably less new than 10sballs.com, but I had never seen Her Maj in the flesh before and, as a Brit, catching a glimpse of a turquoise hat moving slowly through the crowds made the day rather special. She made her royal procession just in front of me (indeed, her car was following a few minutes behind mine as I parked up in Car Park 4). And had it not been for the large lady with the pointy elbows standing right in front of me, I might even have got a photo of Queenie as she processed in front of the press room.

And first impressions of the Queen? She may be my monarch and I may think she’s not half bad, but she ain’t half little. I’m 5ft 10ins tall and, had it not been for lady with the pointy elbows getting in the way, Her Maj would have needed to stand on a box to reach my shoulder (royals are known for their wish to touch the shoulders of Ramsays). Those pointy elbows have a lot to answer for.

Apparently, the advice from the Palace prior to Queenie’s visit to Wimbledon had been “don’t make too much of a fuss”. Yeah, right. This is the All England Club we are talking about here. Fuss is their middle name. And if Her Maj is popping in (“one thought one might nip in and sit in one’s own seat in one’s own box for once…”), they go into fuss overdrive.

Even so, it is a frightfully British attitude to take. We do pageantry, tradition and military parades brilliantly but we don’t do “fuss”. Way back when, it was the whole not fussing thing that allowed us to conquer half the world.

Arriving on some foreign shore, a posh bloke in a uniform would ask the local leaders: “Would you mind awfully if we stayed for a while? Please don’t go to any trouble. No, no, really, please don’t make a fuss…” and as the locals stood by, not fussing, the British army walked straight in and took over. We would build them a few railways in return for their hospitality, mineral wealth and tea (odd, really, because most house guests just bring a bottle of wine or a box of chox), but that was about it. We were big on building railways in those days. It was a bit like playing with train sets for grown-ups.

This method of invasion worked a treat for years, building us a massive Empire and Commonwealth. And then the rest of the world rumbled us. These days we can only lay claim to our own damp, little rock – and even that is mortgaged to the hilt. But we still have Her Maj, so we still have bragging rights.

So, back to the fuss. In order to placate the ruffled feathers of all those players not called upon to perform in front of HMQ, Her Maj met a host of them as she walked in to the grounds. There was the obligatory group of Brits (Laura Robson, the 2008 Wimbledon junior champion; Heather Watson, the current US Open junior champion; Anne Keothavong, the former British No.1 and Elena Baltacha, the current British No.1) and then the big guns were wheeled out.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth ll in the Royal Box on Centre Court for the second round match between Andy Murray of Britain and Jarkko Nieminen of Finland for the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, in London, Britain, 24 June 2010. EPA/FELIPE TRUEBA

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