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s the summer sporting season takes over from the Queen’s prolonged 90th-birthday celebrations, members of the royal family will be looking forward to Wimbledon. It is anticipated that when the monarch relinquishes her role as patron of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club it will be the Duchess of Cambridge who will take over the patronage of the club, which hosts the Wimbledon championships. Ardent tennis fan Kate was taught to play by her father Michael Middleton and has her own tennis court at Anmer Hall.

   The last time the Queen was seen at Wimbledon was in 2010, when I was lucky enough to be there to help presenter and former tennis star Sue Barker with the royal line-up.

   The Duchess of Cambridge is a regular in the royal box at Wimbledon and her husband William has been attending since he was a child. The Duke of Kent is president of the club and will still present the trophies, while the Duchess of Gloucester is the Lawn Tennis Association president. It might sound complicated but the royal family are always careful not to tread on each other’s toes, especially in regard to patronages.

   Recently I have been asked about the tradition of the Queen having two birthdays: her actual one on 21 April and her official one in June. In the days of Queen Victoria, whose birthday was 24 May, she was usually at Balmoral so it was decided to officially celebrate her birthday in June when the court had returned to London. Hence the Birthday Parade, otherwise known as Trooping the Colour, which is usually on the second Saturday in June.

   Her successor King Edward VII, who was born in November, decided it would be better to keep the official birthday in June, as November was such an inclement time of year. The tradition remains to this day.

   After the Duke of Edinburgh’s 95th birthday last month there is another important celebration this month – great-grandson George’s third birthday on 22 July. The charming rascal, who has been seen at several horsey events this summer, loves anything noisy, including his father’s motorbike and his great-grandmother’s soldiers.

   One of the many touching revelations around the Queen’s 90th-birthday celebrations is hearing details of Her Majesty’s favourite songs. It was not only Princess Margaret who could sing beautifully and the Queen has a pitch-perfect voice and a fantastic memory for lyrics. As children the sisters were taught to play the piano by former St George’s Chapel organist and composer Sir William Harris.

   Her love of musicals and hymns already common knowledge, it was revealed that the Queen is also a great fan of George Formby, the late comedian, singer and ukulele player. At a recent birthday party in Bellamy’s restaurant in Mayfair she and Prince Philip sang along to the 1940s classic As Time Goes By, immortalised in the film Casablanca.

   According to Princess Anne, the Queen’s immediate family love crooning together and as children used to sing their favourites on their way to and from Balmoral picnics.


 
 
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