sport news Queen of all our sports: Stars unite to share their most joyous memories of Her ... trends now

sport news Queen of all our sports: Stars unite to share their most joyous memories of Her ... trends now
sport news Queen of all our sports: Stars unite to share their most joyous memories of Her ... trends now

sport news Queen of all our sports: Stars unite to share their most joyous memories of Her ... trends now

During her 70 year reign of Queen Elizabeth II, her duties led her to interact with some of Britain's greatest sporting heroes, either issuing them with trophies, or royal honours.  

As we reflect upon the death of Her Majesty, The Queen, and her funeral taking place in London on Monday, some of those sports stars have shared their stories about the interactions they had with her during her 96 years.  

In addition to her much-publicised love of horse racing, there are stories to be embraced from the Olympics, cricket, tennis, rugby and football.  

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died last Thursday aged 96 at her Scottish estate at Balmoral

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died last Thursday aged 96 at her Scottish estate at Balmoral 

Racing

How The Monarch used statue to stump Trump   

John Gosden, who received an OBE in 2017 and trained numerous winners in the royal colours, recounts one visit from the Queen with great fondness.

'I remember very well that we presented all our horses to her three years ago and then she said she would like to see Enable,' said Gosden. 

'Frankie Dettori was here and he decided to be master of ceremonies. So, Enable was walking round, and Frankie looked at the filly and said, 'You may think you are the Queen, but that is the real Queen!'

'The Queen had a great feel for horses, she would love to see all the foals and yearlings and she was passionate about the breed. It was her joy and relaxation. The trainers would call at 10am and you were given your slot to talk to the Queen about her runners.

'They were always wonderful conversations because you would talk about the horse and the race and then talk about other things. We were very privileged.'

The Queen, who loved her horseracing, pictured at Royal Ascot in 2018, alongside John Warren

The Queen, who loved her horseracing, pictured at Royal Ascot in 2018, alongside John Warren

Gosden also revealed how a gift for the Queen featured in one prominent US Presidential visit.

'We set up a statue of the Queen standing with a mare and a foal at the top of Newmarket and there were maquettes (scale models) done of the statue and the Queen was presented with one in the house here.

'She immediately said, 'I know where that is going' and there was a State visit from President Trump a few days later. 

Of course, Trump liked to stand rather largely in front of everybody and there in the Buckingham Palace rotunda room is Trump but even his tummy could not block out the size of this maquette of the Queen and the mare and foal sitting on the round table.'

Floral tributes were left at a statue of Queen Elizabeth II outside Newmarket Racecourse

Floral tributes were left at a statue of Queen Elizabeth II outside Newmarket Racecourse

Ian Balding, who like Gosden was a long-time trainer for the Queen, recalls when misinformation earned him a swift riposte from racing's most famous ambassador.

He said: 'I can remember writing to her one time, as I had read that she had given up riding and I knew how it would upset her. So, I wrote and said, 'I'm so sorry Ma'am that you have had to give up riding and I feel for you'.

'Anyway, I had a reply, literally by return of post, saying, 'I have not given up riding', so I was delighted by that.

'It was lovely if you happened to have a winner for the Queen as you could see the pleasure and the excitement. I couldn't begin to tell you how important she has been to the racing world.'

The Queen watched on as Richard Hughes won on her horse Free Agent at Ascot in 2008

The Queen watched on as Richard Hughes won on her horse Free Agent at Ascot in 2008

Richard Hughes rode 51 winners for Her Majesty and trained his first winner in her colours when Patchwork won at Redcar in 2017.

He said: 'Having a winner for the Queen was like having 10 winners. I'm very privileged and lucky to have trained for such a wonderful woman.'

Just two days before her passing on September 8, the Queen celebrated her final winner, Love Affairs at Goodwood, with racing manager John Warren.

He revealed that even in the week of her death, Her Majesty was still strategising and planning future targets for her horses.

Warren said: 'She was in such a healthy state of mind and in tremendous form. We sat there for hours strategising and making plans. I think the nicest thing for me is to know that she was surrounded by her family members.

'I left her on Monday afternoon, the Prime Ministers were coming on the Tuesday and she had a winner on that day. That evening she was in really good form, delighted she had had a winner, and she talked about the Prime Ministers coming in and out.'

Words by Sam Turner 

Warren (2nd left) said the Queen was still passionate about her horses shortly before her death

Warren (2nd left) said the Queen was still passionate about her horses shortly before her death

Cricket 

David Gower - Former England cricket captain and TV commentator who was awarded the OBE

'I went too far during lunch in the palace!' 

I am a big royalist, so it was always a huge moment for me when Her Majesty popped into Lord's. Needless to say, she dealt with her duties with her usual equanimity.

For an England captain invited to introduce his players to the Queen on the outfield, the etiquette was simple. She would enter through the Long Room and be presented to you by the MCC secretary. You nod, take her down the line, and try to remember the names.

Keith Fletcher, one of my predecessors, was never great in that regard, and might have made up a few, but I think I got away with it.

There have been plenty of stories about who said what to her during the line-ups. The Australia fast bowler Dennis Lillee reportedly asked her for an autograph, while England off-spinner Pat Pocock requested tickets for the FA Cup final.

During my leadership, everyone seemed on their best behaviour.

David Gower met The Queen several times, including as a 21-year-old, and has many stories

David Gower met The Queen several times, including as a 21-year-old, and has many stories

If you weren't in the field, you might have an audience with her in the committee room. Prince Philip was the cricketer in the family, and the Queen didn't come to Lord's every year. But she was always impeccable.

Once, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Palace. The Queen used to do these intimate lunches for seven or eight guests, and it was all very relaxed. She played a full part in conversation. We had people from every walk of life and you discussed all things under the sun.

She was very interested in everyone, and always well briefed. There was a jockey present, and we discussed helmets — for riding and batting.

I remember taking it a little bit too far with the gory details about what happens if one gets hit without one. The general agreement was, 'Well, let's move on from there. It sounds as though it's much better to wear one…'

One year, I arrived in Barbados and was met by a message inviting me to drinks and dinner on the Royal Yacht Britannia. I was not exactly prepared, and had to borrow a dinner suit, some size-nine black shoes, and try to look the part. 

I presented myself at the docks in Bridgetown, among the great and good of Barbados, including Clyde Walcott and Everton Weekes, with the ladies wearing gloves up to their elbows and beyond.

I walked up the gangplank, where the welcoming party was Her Majesty and Prince Philip. Her first words were, 'Oh, what are you doing here?' The implication, I like to think, was that it was someone she recognised.

Words by Lawrence Booth 

The Queen was a frequent visitor to England Test cricket, such as this from an Ashes series

The Queen was a frequent visitor to England Test cricket, such as this from an Ashes series

Rugby 

Sir Clive Woodward - Knighted by the Queen after winning 2003 World Cup

'We were greeted by pack of corgis after World Cup' 

I was privileged to meet the Queen on several occasions but three stand out and I feel incredibly lucky to be able to say that.

The first was in November 1980 when I played in a centenary match to mark the 100th anniversary of the Welsh Rugby Union at Cardiff Arms Park.

I was in an England and Wales combined team and we faced an opposition made up of the best from Ireland and Scotland. I was in the same back-line as Welsh greats like JPR Williams and Terry Holmes. 

That was big enough in itself as it was my first year of international rugby but it was so surreal when we were introduced to the Queen before kick-off.

I was in my early 20s, I was from a service family, my father being a pilot in the RAF. I remember thinking to myself, 'Wow, I cannot believe this is happening.' I've never forgotten that moment of shaking hands with the Queen and I know how proud my family were.

Sir Clive Woodward was surrounded by corgis when celebrating England's 2003 success

Sir Clive Woodward was surrounded by corgis when celebrating England's 2003 success

More than two decades later, we were able to celebrate England's World Cup win at

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