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GALLERY: Royals at the Summer Olympics


PHOTO: Olympic Youtube Channel (fair use)

You can often spot royals in attendance at the Olympics cheering on their countries’ athletes. Let’s take a look at some royal attendance over the years!

Greek and British Royals: 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece

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The first modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896. Royals attended the events, including King George and Queen Olga of Greece, accompanied by the then-Prince and Princess of Wales (who would become King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1901).

King Edward VII: 1908 Summer Olympics in London, England

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Here, King Edward VII is pictured arriving at the Opening Ceremonies of the 1908 Summer Olympics. There was alleged controversy when the American flag bearer, Ralph Rose, reportedly refused to dip his flag to the King, saying that “this flag dips to no earthly King,” but historians have cast doubt on this and the first reports that Rose said this was printed in 1952.

King Gustav V of Sweden: 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden

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King Gustav V of Sweden, who officially opened the 1912 Summer Olympics, is pictured here presenting equestrian medals on 18 July 1912.

Edward VIII (then Prince of Wales): 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, France

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The Prince of Wales attended the 1924 Summer Olympics and can be seen here chatting with Irish competitor S. Lavan at the Olympic Stadium.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth: 1948 Summer Olympics in London, England

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For the first post-Second World War Olympics, London took up the opportunity to host after the King called it a chance to boost the country. Here, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth are pictured at Wembley Stadium, where the King is officially opening the Games on 29 July.

Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco: 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, Italy

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The Monegasque royals attended the 1960 Summer Olympics and are pictured here watching the rowing events at Castelgandolfo. Princess Grace’s older brother, John Kelly, Jr., competed in the rowing events but failed to medal. It would be his final Olympics.

Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands: 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan

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Princess Beatrix is pictured here filming at the 1964 Olympics.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh: 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico

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For the first time, the Olympics were held in a Latin American country in 1968, and today, these Games are perhaps most famous for the Black Power salute by Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos while on the podium following a track event. Prince Philip is pictured here on a tour of the Olympic facilities.

Princess Anne: 1976 Summer Games in Montreal, Canada

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Princess Anne competed in the 1976 Olympics, which were officially opened by her mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in her role as Queen of Canada. As part of the British equestrian team, Princess Anne rode one of her mother’s horses but failed to medal. Her daughter, Zara Tindall, would later compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Prince Philip: 1984 Summer Olympics, Los Angeles, USA

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Prince Philip donned a bright blazer and drove his own horse and rostrum into the stadium to present the equestrian medals at the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Princess Anne and Sir Timothy Lawrence: 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, USA

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Princess Anne and Timothy Laurence are pictured here watching the swimming events at the centenary of the modern Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia.

Queen Margrethe, Crown Prince Frederik, Crown Princess Mary: 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece

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Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary met at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. The Danish prince was hiding his identity when he met the Australian at the Slip Inn pub during the Games, and it wasn’t until later that she learned of his true identity. The couple dated, sometimes long-distance, over the next few years before marrying in May 2004. One of their first major royal engagements after the wedding was attending the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

They’re pictured here with Queen Margrethe watching handball.

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden: 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China

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The Swedish monarchs first met at the 1972 Summer Olympics, when the then-Crown Prince was attending the Games on behalf of Sweden, and Silvia Sommerlath was working as a hostess in the protocol department. They struck up a relationship and were later married in 1976.

Here, they are pictured at the Closing Ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics.

King Felipe and Queen Letizia of Spain: 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China

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The then-Prince and Princess of Asturias are pictured here at the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Games. King Felipe once competed for Spain at the Olympics, joining the rowing team at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona and acting as Spain’s flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony.

Queen Elizabeth II: 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England

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“The Queen” skydived into Olympic Stadium alongside James Bond during the Opening Ceremony on 27 July 2012. In actuality, it was a stunt performer, and The Queen walked in with Prince Philip and joined other members of the Royal Family to watch the event and officially open the Games.

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About author

Jess is the Senior Royal Reporter and Editorial Assistant at Royal Central. Her interest in royalty started in her teenage years, coinciding with The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and grew from there. She specializes in the British Royal Family (with emphasis on the Cambridges) and the Danish Royal Family, and has provided royal commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia.