ROYALS

The Princess of Wales makes highly anticipated Wimbledon return

Her recovery is ongoing.
Loading the player...

Kate Middleton has made her second public appearance since revealing her cancer diagnosis at Wimbledon on July 14, 2024.

She was joined by her daughter Princess Charlotte in the Royal Box, where the mother-daughter duo watched on as Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz battled it out in their bid to be crowned the winner of the men’s singles tournament.

catherine princess of wales purple dress wimbledon
Catherine, Princess of Wales presents the trophy to Carlos Alcaraz. (Credit: Getty)

Since 2016, Catherine, Princess of Wales has been a patron of the tennis tournament. It’s the perfect pairing given the mother-of-three is an avid tennis fan.

“I have watched Wimbledon, that was very much part of my growing up. It’s such a quintessential part of the English summer, and I think it really inspires youngsters, myself, it inspired me when I was younger to get involved in the game. It hasn’t changed either, I think that’s what’s so wonderful,” she shared with the BBC in 2017.

The 42-year-old returned to the public eye for the first time in almost six months when she joined the royal family for the King’s annual birthday parade Trooping the Colour.

carlos alcaraz wimbledon catherine princess of wales
A worthy winner. (Credit: Getty)

Over the years, the British royal family and the Wimbledon tennis tournament have partaken in a symbiotic relationship.

From presenting trophies to winners, watching all the action from the prestigious Royal Box to even taking to the court to play themselves, the royals are as synonymous with Wimbledon as a tennis ball is a tennis racquet.

While the exact origins and creators of modern tennis have been disputed, King Henry VIII was the first royal to have a recorded interest in the sport and was known to spend hours on the court.

So passionate was he, that the Venetian Ambassador even wrote in 1519, that “it was the prettiest thing in the world” to watch Henry place tennis (at least according to the Historic Royal Palaces website).

Queen Elizabeth’s father started several royal traditions at Wimbledon. (Credit: Getty)

Who sits in the Royal Box at Wimbledon?

Tickets to a match at Wimbledon are not only notoriously hard to secure but often expensive to purchase.

But if you are a royal (or a friend of a royal), you are automatically entitled to some of the best seats in the house thanks to the Royal Box.

The suite, which is located inside the Wimbledon Centre Court, contains 74 Lloyd Loom wicker seats that are quite literally fit for a king!

While the royal family are regular attendees at the prestigious tennis tournament, invites are often extended to some of the world’s biggest names.

princess diana prince william wimbledon
Lady Diana and a young Prince William intently watching the on-court action. (Credit: Getty)

According to the official Wimbledon website, “overseas royal families are invited [into the Royal Box] as well as heads of government, people from the world of tennis, commercial partners, British armed forces, prominent media organisations, supporters of British tennis and other walks of life.”

Currently, the Chairman of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTC) – where Wimbledon is held – distributes the invitations based on suggestions submitted by members of the Championships’ Organising Committee, the Lawn Tennis Association, and other sources.

Attendees must also follow a strict “smart” dress code and ladies are asked not to wear hats so they do not obscure the view of the court of those seated behind them.

king george VI wimbledon
The first (and last) royal to compete at Wimbledon. (Credit: Getty)

Have any royals competed at Wimbledon?

While Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, the royal family did not attend until 1907 when King George V and Queen Mary decided to attend a match.

Three years later, the then secretary of the All England Club, George Hillyard, asked his childhood friend to take on the club’s president role, and present trophies to the winners. At the same time, the King also became the Patron of the All-England Club.

To this day that tradition has continued. Queen Elizabeth II was the patron from 1952 until 2016 (retiring on her 90th birthday), while her cousin Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent was president for more than 50 years until he retired from the role in 2021.

Scroll on to see some of the most iconic royal moments captured on camera at Wimbledon over the years…

(Credit: Getty)

1925

In one of the earliest photos ever captured at Wimbledon of the royal family, Queen Mary, grandmother to Queen Elizabeth II, presented French player Suzanne Lenglen with her prize after she won the women’s singles tournament.

(Credit: Getty)

1938

Queen Consort Elizabeth (who then became known as The Queen Mother after her husband King George VI passed away in 1952) poses here with American Wimbledon champion Helen Wills Moody during a break in play.

(Credit: Getty)

1957

Her Majesty was all smiles as she presented the winner’s trophy to American Althea Gibson.

(Credit: Getty)

1962

Here, Rod Laver was awarded the men’s single’s trophy by Queen Elizabeth. As well as winning Wimbledon in 1962, the Australian tennis player also won the tournament in 1961, 1968, and 1969.

(Credit: Getty)

1965

The ever-fashionable Princess Margaret was in the Royal Box in 1965, her signature cigarette in hand.

(Credit: Getty)

1969

Princess Anne was only 18 years old when this photo was taken.

Here she is pictured presenting winner Anne Jones at the 1969 championships after the English player defeated American Billie Jean King on home soil.

(Credit: Getty)

1970

A year later it was Princess Margaret’s turn to present the winners with their Wimbledon trophies!

Here, she is pictured moments before handing over the trophy to Australian John Newcombe.

(Credit: Getty)

1970

During the tournament, Prince Charles took to the Royal Box in a dashing suit to watch all the action unfold on court.

(Credit: Getty)

1970

Here Princess Margaret presents Australian Margaret Court with the women’s singles trophy at the 1970 tennis tournament.

(Credit: Getty)

1977

Queen Elizabeth watched enthusiastically on as Britain’s Virginia Wade lifted her trophy high above her head after winning the women’s singles title on July 1, 1977.

(Credit: Getty)

1981

Here, Princess Diana is pictured alongside Princess Grace of Monaco in the Royal Box. The royal ladies were watching John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg fight it out the glory of winning Wimbledon.

(Credit: Getty)

1993

It’s safe to say that Princess Diana stole the show as she cheered on Pete Sampras in the men’s singles tournament in 1993.

(Credit: Getty)

2011

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge emerged from their newlywed bliss to attend a fourth-round match between Andy Murray and Richard Gasquet together.

(Credit: Getty)

2012

The then Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall were all smiles as they watched Roger Federer take on Fabio Fognini in the second round of the men’s singles tournament in 2012.

(Credit: Getty)

2012

Pippa Middleton and her older sister Catherine were all smiles in the Royal Box as they attended Wimbledon in 2012.

(Credit: Getty)

2017

The then Countess of Wessex was well and truly getting into the spirit of things as she attended day 11 of Wimbledon in 2017.

(Credit: Getty)

2018

The crowds were going wild as the then Duchess of Cambridge and Duchess of Sussex attended Wimbledon together for the first time in 2018.

For the occasion, Catherine wore a dress from her favourite designer Jenny Packham, while Meghan opted to wear an outfit from Ralph Lauren with a Maison Michel sunhat to accessorise.

(Credit: Getty)

2023

It’s clear that Prince George and Princess Charlotte have inherited their mother’s passion for tennis based on these facial expressions!

Here they cheer on Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic as they face off on the court for the men’s singles title in 2023.

(Credit: Getty)

2024

Princess Beatrice was joined by her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi on day nine of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships on July 9, 2024.

It sure looks like they were excited by the action on the court!

(Credit: Getty)

2024

After weeks of speculation, the Princess of Wales made her highly anticipated return to Centre Court for the men’s final on day fourteen of the tennis tournament in 2024.

She was joined by her sister Pippa, and daughter Princess Charlotte in the Royal Box.

Related stories