By Ros Satar
- The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTC), Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) and the Rugby Football Union (RFU) were among the sporting organisations who paid tribute to The Queen as she handed over patronage to the next generation of Royals
- Prince Harry will take over the role at the RFU while the Duchess of Cambridge becomes the patron of the AELTC
- Prince William will take over patronage of the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA)
LONDON, ENGLAND – The Queen is handing patronage of three major sporting institutions to the next generation of Royals, who in turn paid tribute to her service.
The Queen currently works with over 600 institutions and charities, and having celebrated her 90th birthday this year, Her Majesty is stepping down from a number of sporting patronages, with the younger Royals stepping into her shoes.
AELTC <A – Duchess of Cambridge
Both the AELTC and the LTA paid warm tribute to Her Majesty after the announcement on Tuesday that she would be relinquishing her patronage of both organisations. She had been a patron of the All England Club since 1952, watching Britain’s Virginia Wade crowned as women’s singles champion in her Silver Jubilee year and most recently visited The Championships in 2010, meeting platers past and present including Andy Murray, Martina Navratilova, Serena & Venus Williams and Billie Jean King.
Philip Brook, Chairman of the AELTC and The Championships said: “We would like to thank Her Majesty for her long and unwavering service to The Club and The Championships during her time as our Patron. It was a great honour to welcome Her Majesty to Wimbledon in 2010 and we remain immensely proud of her role in the history of The Club and The Championships.
“We would like to welcome HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, who will take up The Queen’s former duties as our Patron, and also recognise with appreciation the ongoing contribution of HRH The Duke of Kent, who will continue his long-standing role as our President.”
Those sentiments were echoed by President of the LTA, Cathie Sabin:
“On behalf of all the British Tennis family, I would like to thank Her Majesty for her many years of patronage and dedicated support of tennis in Great Britain. We were honoured to welcome Her Majesty to open the National Tennis Centre in 2007 and we are enormously proud of her association with our sport.
We are excited to welcome HRH The Duchess of Cambridge as our Patron from 2017, and wish to thank HRH The Duchess of Gloucester for her continued and steadfast support as she remains in her role as Honorary President.”
Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) & Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) – Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
Prince William has been the Vice Royal Patron of the Welsh Rugby Union since February 2007, becoming the Vice Patron after the death of Sir Tasker Watkins VC. He presented WRU president Dennis Gethin with his OBE this year, and he said:
“We thank Her Majesty The Queen for her support of the Welsh Rugby Union over the years. We are delighted that The Duke of Cambridge will take over from his grandmother as Patron of the Welsh Rugby Union. Since becoming Vice Patron in 2007, His Royal Highness has been a great ambassador, not only for the Welsh Rugby Union, but for young people and for sport generally.
“He makes a great difference to everyone he meets on his regular visits to Wales and to Principality Stadium, interacting with all kinds of individuals and groups including players past and present, volunteers, apprentices, veterans and staff. The Duke is also Patron of the Welsh Rugby Charitable Trust which helps severely injured rugby players and their families. He is particularly generous in his help of this charity. We look forward to his presence and continued support in his new role as WRU Patron.”
In addition HRH The Duke of Cambridge will take over the patronage of the ASA, where The Queen had been a patron since 1953, acting as a great champion of swimming and water safety.
Jane Nickerson, ASA Interim Chief Executive, said: “On behalf of our President, Chairmen, Boards and all our staff and Members, I would like to thank Her Majesty for her years of support and service to the ASA.
“It has been an honour to have Her Majesty as our Patron and to be able to celebrate our many achievements together. We are delighted to welcome The Duke of Cambridge as our new Patron and look forward to continuing our close relationship with the Royal Family.”
Rugby Football Union (RFU) & Rugby Football League (RFL) – Prince Harry
The Queen had been the patron of the RFU for 64 years, since 1952 when she took over the position after the death of her father King George VI. She attended numerous rugby matches at Twickenham and two Rugby World Cups in the UK in 1991 and 1999.
One of her last acts as Patron was to host an event at Buckingham Palace during the 2015 World Cup for officials, players, staff and volunteers for the tournament. Prince Harry has been Vice Patron of the union since 2010.
Peter Baines, RFU President, said: “It has been a privilege and an honour to have The Queen as Patron of the RFU for over 60 years. She has been a fantastic supporter of the union and we thank her for that and her contribution to the game of rugby in England.”
He added: “We welcome Prince Harry as our new Patron. He has been Vice Patron for a number of years already and a regular at England Tests at Twickenham. He has been a brilliant ambassador of our work in the community and our charities as well as internationally for the union as President of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.”
RFL Chairman, Brian Barwick, said: “The RFL has been honoured to have had Her Majesty The Queen as its patron and on behalf of the organisation I would like to thank Her Majesty for the support she has given this sport. I would also like to welcome Prince Harry as the new patron of the organisation. We are aware that he is a big fan of sport and we are delighted to announce that he is to become the new patron for the Rugby Football League.”
List of sporting patronages being taken on by other members of the Royal Family
- Welsh Rugby Union – Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
- Amateur Swimming Association – Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
- All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) Wimbledon – HRH The Duchess of Kent
- Lawn Tennis Association – HRH The Duchess of Kent
- Rugby Football Union – Prince Harry
- Rugby Football League – Prince Harry
- Sport and Recreation Alliance – Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex
- British Cycling Federation
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