Queen returns to Wimbledon after 33 years

The Queen meets the great and good of the tennis world at Wimbledon

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The Queen has visited the Wimbledon tennis championships for the first time in 33 years.

She watched Britain's number one Andy Murray beat Finland's Jarkko Nieminen on Centre Court.

Security was stepped up and police were visible around the court.

On her last visit on 1 July 1977, Virginia Wade won the ladies' singles championship - Britain's only singles' title in 33 years.

Upon her arrival the monarch was met by the Duke of Kent, who is president of the All England Club, as well as chairman Tim Phillips, vice-chairman Philip Brook and chief executive Ian Ritchie.

The Queen toured the grounds of the All England Club, walking past Aorangi Terrace - better known as Murray Mount or Henman Hill.

Large crowds lined the St Mary's Walk avenue ahead of the Queen's visit.

Eyewitness account

There were cheers and applause on Henman Hill - or Murray Mount - as the Queen arrived at Wimbledon, her first visit since 1977.

After meeting club officials she made her way through the crowd, stopping at Court 14 to watch a display of junior tennis.

A row of young players of the future followed Royal protocol, executing a perfect row of bows and curtseys.

The Queen then met champions past and present.

In the line-up Martina Navratilova - the holder of 20 Wimbledon titles including nine singles.

She also met the top seeds in this year's tournament, including defending champions Roger Federer and Serena Williams.

Would Andy Murray bow to the Royal box?

He had already dismissed speculation that he might not and both he and his opponent Jarkko Nieminen were cheered as they turned and bowed to the Queen.

Less than two hours later another bow from both players as Murray walked off victorious- through to the third round.

A short conversation with the Queen on Wimbledon's clubhouse balcony followed before she left after a visit lasting around three-and-a-half hours.

Players past and present, including Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King and current champions Serena Williams and Roger Federer, met the Queen in the members' enclosure ahead of her arrival in the royal box on Centre Court.

And former champion Wade met the Queen again.

Federer said it had been a "big honour" to meet the monarch.

"After 33 years there is huge happiness that she should visit this year for the fans. I'm just so glad I got a chance to meet her," he said.

And record-breaking former Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova said the monarch was "lovely".

British tennis number one Elena Baltacha said meeting the Queen had been "amazing".

"I was so nervous beforehand but it was so nice, and opportunities like that don't come around very often. It was all pretty surreal but such a big privilege," she said.

And fellow Briton Anne Keothavong said she and other female players had spent a long time practising curtseys before meeting the monarch.

"It was all very pleasant and obviously a real honour to be part of that line-up," she said.

The group who met the Queen also included Venus Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Jelena Jankovic, Novak Djokovic and Andy Roddick.

Some of the players were invited to attend a lunch with the Queen where the menu included salmon, honey-marinated chicken and the Wimbledon staple of strawberries and cream.

Some ball boys, ball girls and club officials also met her.

She then moved on to watch 23-year-old Murray secure a place in the third round.

The Queen has only made two other trips to Wimbledon, in 1957 and 1962. The Duke of Edinburgh has made more visits however, in 1949, 1953, 1954, 1957, 1960 as well as 1977.

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