A Taste of Royalty – The Royal Box at Wimbledon

By Nicholas McCarvel

Tennis venues around the world all have a special reserved area for the most important and elite to sit and watch the on-court battles, but none of them are quite as famous as Wimbledon’s Royal Box. Centre Court’s distinct historic flair is partly attributed to said box, which has seen royalty pass through it for decades upon decades since The Championships moved to Church Road in 1922.

New Haven Open Tournament Director and former WTA CEO Anne Worcester is a frequent guest of the Royal Box and says there is nothing quite like it. Listening to her describe her experience is like listening to a princess describing a royal afternoon:

“Walking up the steps and being escorted into the luncheon – last year I was seated with Kate Middleton’s parents and the Chairman of Wimbledon – watching matches from the best vantage point of the stadium – at four o’clock going back into the dining area for tea, scones and strawberries and cream – and watching some more tennis. It’s a fabulous experience.”

While the dress is all white for players, the box is a place where the most distinguished of guests wear their best – no matter the color. This year, the Duke of Kent and Camilla and the Duchess of Cornwall (Prince Charles’ wife) have graced the Box’s presence. The Duke is the president of the All England Club.
But while true royalty grace the Royal Box on a daily basis, so too do royal members of other industries.

This year was no different, Anna Wintour, J.K. Rowling, Jude Law, Wayne Rooney and Condoleezza Rice were all in the Box at one point or another. On the men’s final day Sunday, both British Prime Minister David Cameron and Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic were in attendance – as were two Kings of Hollywood, Bradley Cooper and Gerard Butler.

Worcester, who did not make it to SW19 this year due to her busy schedule, joked that missing Cooper was her biggest regret of her absence in the Royal Box at The 2013 Championships.

“I’ve met other people in the Royal Box,” said Worcester. “Like Luciano Pavarotti, Roger Federer’s family and the Middletons. But I have to say, I was really happy to be home this year as there was so much going on for the New Haven Open, but my one regret was seeing Bradley Cooper in that Royal Box – and I wasn’t there!”

It’s not just the royalty of politics, stage and screen that frequent the Royal Box, however. Tennis royalty including two-time New Haven Open champ (and seven-time finalist) Lindsay Davenport, Tracy Austin, John McEnroe, Greg Rusedski, Richard Krajicek and Britain’s current golden boy, Andy Murray, made appearances, as well.

Murray appeared on the Middle Saturday with a slew of British Olympians and Paralympians, all honored for their achievement at last year’s London Games. Murray, who won gold over Roger Federer in the final, received a standing ovation.

It’s somehow fitting that the most distinguished place to watch tennis in the world is on the most distinguished court in the world. Now, for the important question: do they get unlimited strawberries and cream?

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