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Elizabeth II and her relationship with sports: from horses to football to the Olympic Games

Elizabeth II and her relationship with sports: from horses to football to the Olympic Games

During her 70-year reign, Elizabeth II's relationship with sport was strong: she rewarded the English national team with the world champion title in London in 1966, but her true great sporting passion has always been her beloved horses. She was the first to raise thoroughbred horses, for which she was always jealous and concerned. Queen Elizabeth was also very skilled and quite educated at riding horses. The Queen's passion for horses was so well known that one of the UK's major sporting events was the Royal Ascot event: a racing day in her honor which she never missed and for which she imposed a strict dress code that included the use of a hat.

Among the sports that Queen Elizabeth loved, she could not miss the one that was invented in England: football, or rather… football. She herself explained in 2007 that she was a fan of a particular team, namely Arsenal. The Gunners were actually the only team welcomed to Buckingham Palace. It was Queen Elizabeth herself who rewarded England with the title of world champions at Wembley in 1966. It was a moment that marked the history of not only British football, but all sports across the Channel. It is in fact the first and so far only time that England has won the World Cup. The first match she attended as Queen was the 1953 FA Cup Final between Blackpool and Bolton. Even earlier, in 1945, she had already watched a Chelsea match live, but she was still a princess. His presence was also inevitable in the 1996 European Championship, which was organized in England. The Queen was in the stadium to watch the final match between Germany, the eventual winner of the tournament, and the Czech Republic. Before the match began, the Queen shook hands with all the players present.

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Not at Wembley for England's recent European Championship match against Italy, but before the final, the Queen sent a message to manager Southgate: “55 years ago I was lucky enough to hand the Rimet Cup to Bobby Moore…I want to send my congratulations, and those of my family, to the team on Reaching the final, I send my best wishes for tomorrow, hoping that history will remember not only the successes, but also the spirit, connection and pride you have. facility so far.

Not only football, in England there is also rugby among the most played sports which inevitably had a connection with Queen Elizabeth. The King was actually the patron of the Rugby Football Union (Welsh Rugby Union), the two main rugby entities in England and Wales. It was Queen Elizabeth herself who rewarded John Ellis, Australia's captain, at the end of the 1999 Rugby World Cup final win over France. The event was held in Wales, so the King's presence in Cardiff was inevitable.

In addition to rugby, Elizabeth II has always had an affair with tennis. Although it was not one of her favorite sports, she was a patron of the All England Tennis and Croquet Club, the club that organizes Wimbledon. In fact, during the first 25 years of her reign, until 1977, the Queen visited Wimbledon only three times. The next event dates back to 2010. The royal family was most recently represented by Kate Middleton, to whom the Queen bequeathed the patronage of the All England Tennis and Croquet Club in 2017.

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Elizabeth II was born when the first FIFA World Cup had not yet been held. The King has lived through 23 World Cups and 24 Summer Olympics. Among the many records that Queen Elizabeth holds is that of the first, and so far only, head of state to have opened two editions of the Olympic Games in two different countries, namely Canada (Montreal 1976) and the United Kingdom (London 2012).