Clare Balding fury: Wimbledon host sparked blunt correction after royal comment

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The 50-year-old is set to return to screens as she helps cover Wimbledon. Having missed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic , the tournament is back in person and on screens. Clare, who was a renowned amateur jockey, is one of the nation’s most recognisable TV stars, and made a name for herself while delivering a host of sports coverage for the BBC.

Across her career she has presented live from some of the world’s most iconic sporting celebrations, including six Olympic Games, four Paralympic Games, the Winter Olympics, Rugby League Challenge Cup and Crufts.

She will be leading the broadcaster’s Today at Wimbledon segment, which will air daily on BBC Two.

It will see her dissect the day’s play alongside special guests, as well as offer highlights of the biggest moments of the two-week tournament.

Clare will be hoping for no slip ups during the event, but once admitted to being “put back in her box” during a clash with Prince Philip during a last minute interview in 2010.

Philip sadly passed away earlier this year, sparking nationwide mourning, and a wave of tributes being paid to the 99-year-old.

She was parachuted in to do the interview, despite Huw Edwards normally taking responsibility for the big-hitting interviews.

But the Welshman had to be near 10 Downing Street as the Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats were thrashing out a deal after a hung Parliament.

Stepping up to the mark, Clare began chatting to the Duke of Edinburgh about Trooping the Colour and the Queen’s birthday parade.

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She told ITV’s Lorraine in April: “He was absolutely charming and very straight-forward and very professional, until I said something.

“I was talking about the Grenadier Guards, and I was talking about the way they are and the values they hold and I said ‘the guardsmen or women’ the same way I say ‘firemen or women’, I always do that, I say ‘sportsmen or women’.

“And he looked at me and said, ‘There are no women in the Grenadier Guards’, which is not correct now but was correct then.

“And I just thought, ‘Yep, you’ve been put back in your box, know your place Clare’.”

In 2010, the Grenadier Guards were all male but by December, 2020 it welcomed 15 new Guardsmen, including the first ever female Grenadier Guard since it was founded in 1656.

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The Royal Family has a long established connection to Wimbledon which started out in 1907, when the Prince of Wales, later known as King George V, and Princess Mary – the Queen’s grandparents – first attended the championships.

Prince George would be asked by George Hillyard, the new secretary of Wimbledon, to serve as the President of the All England Club – which oversees the tournament – and present the trophy to the winners.

By 1910, King George was given the role as patron of the club, and since then a member of the Royal Family has continued in that position.

During the Twenties, the affiliation grew with the Queen’s father Albert who even attempted to win the tournament, but reportedly lost “ignominiously in the first round and never entered again.”

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, is currently the Patron of the All England Club, taking over from Her Majesty in 2016 following her 90th birthday.

The 39-year-old was reportedly upset last year after organisers opted to postpone the event, due to the pandemic.

A statement from The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at the time read: “It is with great regret that the Main Board of the All England Club (AELTC) and the Committee of Management of The Championships have today decided that The Championships 2020 will be cancelled due to public health concerns linked to the coronavirus epidemic. The 134th Championships will instead be staged from 28 June to 11 July 2021.”

On the day of what should have seen the tournament begin last year, Kate released an emotional video describing how waiting for the 2021 edition would be worth it.

She said: “[We] will bide our time until we sit at the edge of our seats again, and celebrate again.

“So when the time is right and we open the gates, we will be back again, and it will have been worth the wait.”

This year’s tournament begins on Monday and will see some of the world’s best tennis stars battle it out to be crowned Wimbledon champion.

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