the Queen of England to the Wimbledon Championships on Thursday.
Speaking of the Queen, our Queen Elizabeth roses are thriving quite nicely thanks to summer's arrival this week. With seven roses currently blossoming in our backyard garden as I write this post, our Queen Elizabeth roses are showing wonderful maturity and color. More on them in a moment.
Back to Wimbledon, the British royalty have been associated with The Championships at the All England Club in London's SW19 since 1907, when the Prince of Wales first visited the Worple Road tennis grounds, accompanied by Princess Mary. Over the years, various members of the royals, including Queen Elizabeth II, have visited the Royal Box at Centre Court. No doubt, the amenities are nice and plentiful with a befitting sense of majesty for Her Majesty: A good, unobstructed view of the action on the immaculately groomed grass court; a proper amount of shade and comfortable chairs to relax while watching play; and, just as importantly, unlimited strawberries and cream to nibble on while chatting among other royal dignitaries.
According to the tournament's official Wimbledon website, which devotes an entire chapter to Royalty at Wimbledon, the Queen's last visit to the Royal Box was on July 1, 1977 during her Silver Jubilee year and also on the occasion of the Championship's Centenary. (Her other visits were in 1957 and 1962). So, it's been 33 years since the Queen's last Tea Time at Wimbledon ~ and, aside from tennis evolving considerably since the days of wooden rackets many a fortnight ago, think of some of the champions she's missed seeing play in person: Borg, McEnroe, Becker, Navratilova, Graf, the Williams sisters, Federer.
Well, Britain's best hope for a winning a singles title at this year's Wimbledon ~ and erasing its biggest sporting embarrassment ~ rests of the shoulders of a Scot, Andy Murray. Seeded fourth in the men's singles draw, Murray recently said he would be honored to play in front of the Queen on Centre Court, and would bow to her if his opponent did. Britain's last singles titlist, the Englishwoman Virginia Wade, whose 1977 triumph coincided with Her Majesty's Silver Jubilee visit, observed for London's Guardian newspaper: "I think Andy should be tickled by the Queen coming to Wimbledon."
We await news of the Queen's visit ~ and her choice of wardrobe ~ with great interest.
Now, we return to the pleasure of our garden ~ and our Queen Elizabeth roses ~ in our own backyard, far removed from all of the overseas sporting hoopla.
A bit of history about the Queen Elizabeth rose and an answer to where it gets its name: The Queen Elizabeth rose honors the 1952 accession to the throne and the 1954 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II of Britain ~ yes, that Queen Elizabeth, whom Helen Mirren so marvelously portrayed in the 2006 movie The Queen. The rose's other name is the Queen of England rose. It is a cross between the Charlotte Armstrong and Floradora roses.
Our Queen Elizabeth rose bush occupies a prime throne in our backyard garden, near the gate of our picket fence. Its southern facing means it gets ample sunshine throughout the day and it nicely complements our Mr. Lincoln deep red rose bush, which stands to the Queen's right.
And, most importantly, they're very photogenic.