The Duchess of Cambridge is set to take over the position as official patron to The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club from The Queen in 2017. Though The Queen has served as patron for 64 years she has never had a keen passion for the sport and so has visited the Wimbledon tournament just twice in the past 35 years.
In addition to her role as patron, Kate will be taking over the responsibility for presenting awards to Wimbledon champions from the Duke of Kent—a role he has held for the past 40 years. A spokesperson for the club was quoted, saying ‘They will let us know when the change happens. We will just be told. Until we hear otherwise I can only assume the Duke will hand out prizes as usual’ suggesting that this is all the information the Club has been given about the change at this time.
A keen tennis player, Kate regularly attends the Wimbledon Championships and was presented with an honorary membership to the All England Tennis Club in January 2013. And a statement issued at the time on her behalf said ‘The Duchess was pleased to accept the kind offer, particularly given her interest in tennis’.
Kate plays regularly and has been quoted as saying it’s one of only two sports she can beat Prince William at. She has also taken an interest in sharing the sport with the next generation and showed off her skills with a racket when she participated in a ‘Tennis on the Road’ workshop hosted by Judy Murray—mother of tennis star players Andy and Jamie Murray—at Craigmount High School in Edinburgh during a day of engagements in February 2016.
Founded on 23 July 1868 The Club went through several changes and names before becoming The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in 1899. The Championships at Wimbledon—commonly referred to simply as ‘Wimbledon’—is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and was first held in 1877. Taking place every year in a two-week period at the end of June and beginning of July the tournament is the only major still played on grass and considered the most prestigious tennis tournament in the world.