The Queen has decided to step down as patron of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club, the home of the Wimbledon Championships, as well as the Lawn Tennis Association, the governing body of the sport in Great Britain.
The announcement was made early on Tuesday and was quickly followed by the AELTC announcing the role would be passed on to Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge. She will also double as patron of the LTA when the Queen officially steps down at the end of her 90th year.
We would like to welcome HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, who will take up The QueenÈs former duties as our Patron
It was rumoured that the Queen was never all that interested in the sport but she did attend, in the 64 years that she has been patron of the AELTC, the Championships twice, memorably in her Jubilee year (1977) when she presented the Venus Rosewater Dish trophy to Virginia Wade following her triumph in that yearÈs Ladies Singles.
She then attended in 2010 when she met a selection of former Wimbledon champions including Roger Federer, Venus and Serena Williams, Martina Navratilova, and Billie Jean king as well as home favourite Andy Murray, plus ball boys and girls, officials, and members of the Wimbledon Junior Tennis Initiative.
The official statement from the AELTC thanked the Queen for her support during the years.
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, Philip Brook, Chairman of The AELTC and The Championships, said. 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.
In addition, the Chairman welcomed the Duchess of Cambridge, a keen tennis fan she was in the Royal Box when Andy Murray won his second Championships last summer to her new role.
Brook said: We would like to welcome HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, who will take up The QueenÈs 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.
Meanwhile in Roehampton, Cathie Sabin, President of the LTA said, 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.