Kate Middleton put on a friendly display as she welcomed close pal Roger Federer to a special ceremony at Wimbledon today .
The Princess of Wales, 41, was among those enthusiastically applauding as Federer, 41, was honoured for his stellar sporting achievements on Centre Court today following his retirement from the game last year.
Meanwhile his wife Mirka watched on in the Royal Box, where other guests included Prince Michael of Kent and his daughter Lady Gabriella and former Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha.
As the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club’s patron and a sports fan, the Princess of Wales is a regular of the Royal Box and has cultivated a strong bond with the eight-times Wimbledon winner.
She even broke royal protocol in 2017 and planted three kisses on his cheeks as she congratulated the sportsman for winning the tournament for the eighth time, while the Prince of Wales and Federer’s wife Mirka watched on.
The playful friendship extends beyond the court, with Kate and Roger working on several projects together and both starring in a video highlighting the work of ball boys and girls in late June, where the royal put the tennis star through his paces.
Kate Middleton, 41, put on a friendly display as she greeted close pal Roger Federer as he was honoured with a special ceremony at Wimbledon today.
Roger’s wife Mirka glanced at Kate as she took her seat in the Royal Box alongside her (pictured)
The Princess put on an animated display as she chatted to her old friend Federer, with whom she released a video playing tennis just last week
After the long standing ovation, Federer appeared to lean over to try to speak with his wife Mirka
The royal mother-of-three was beaming during the applause, as Roger shared a quick wave with the crowd
The Princes seemed in her element as she watched the match alongside the Swiss pro
Sporty Kate is a huge fan of the tennis and attends Wimbledon every year
Kate looked delighted as she watched on with Federer by her side
The Princess of Wales (left) as Roger Federer shares a brief exchange with Andy Murray following his victory over Ryan Peniston
Princess of Wales alongside Chairman of the AELTC Ian Hewitt (left) as she heads into the Andy Murray match
In addition to catching up with Roger, the royal was also seen chatting with Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian woman who spent six years in prison in Iran, after being arrested in 2016 at Tehran airport.
The mother-of-one, who had been visiting family in the country, was charged with trying to overthrow the regime – which she has always denied.
She finally returned to the UK in 2022 after a campaign by her husband Richard and a team of lawyers.
Nazanin previously spoke about how tennis helped her cope in prison, telling Andy Murray during an episode of the Today programme that his Wimbledon victory in 2016 helped her to bond with other inmates.
She said she was was so inspired by Andy’s victory that she taught other inmates his name which helped forge a ‘connection’ and made her feel ‘closer to home’.
The Princess – who has been patron of the All England Lawn Tennis Club since 2016 – looked elegant as she arrived at the All England Club wearing a smart pleated white skirt and mint £1,950 Balmain blazer.
At today’s event, she wore her hair in loose waves across her shoulders and opted for neutral makeup, with a sweep of eyeliner and a touch of blusher.
Meanwhile she kept her jewellery simple, opting for a simple pearl bracelet and £72 Chunky Knot Baroque Pearl Earrings by Shyla.
Kate’s choice of Balmain for her outfit marked the first time the royal has been seen in the French label.
Celebrity fans of the fashion house include Cara Delevingne and Kim Kardashian.
Meanwhile Balmain’s creative director previously said he would love to dress Kate’s sister-in-law Meghan Markle, and described her as ‘confident, sexy and respectful.’
The Princess opted to pair the trendy blazer, which features white button detailing and white lapels, with a white midi skirt and matching accessories.
As play began on Centre Court, Kate was seated in the royal box, where she was greeted by a standing ovation.
At 1pm, Federer was joined by his wife Mirka on court and fans were treated to a special video montage of his best moments through the years. The couple then stayed for the day’s play as special guests in the royal box.
The tennis player has become a friend of the Royals and the Middletons in the past few years, even attending the wedding of Kate’s sister Pippa to James Matthews in 2017.
The Princess reached out to shake hands with designer Samantha Cameron as she left Centre Court today
The Princess shook hands with both David and Samantha, whose clothing label she wore earlier this year
After the match, Kate, Roger and his wife Mirka stopped to chat with David and Samantha Cameron
Samantha and David Cameron settled into their seats in the Royal Box to watch the first round match between Shelby Rogers of the US and Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina
After the match had finished, the group stood to chat to one another as they left Centre Court
One is amused! Kate and Roger shared a laugh during the tournament today as they watched the players take to the court
The Princess and the King of the court! Kate shared a smile with Roger while they were watching the match today
How far? Kate and Roger were deep in conversation as they appeared to discuss the logistics of the match
The royal mother-of-three, who last year attended the contest with her son George, was animated as she chatted with the tennis legend
While Kate and Roger appeared to share a smile with one another, his wife Mikra looked less than impressed
As Roger and Kate watched the action unfold at SW19, the two appeared to share a laugh together
The friends – who have known each other for a number of years – were beaming as they watched the play on Centre Court
The tennis legend, who is so close to the Middleton family he attended Pippa’s wedding in 2017, appeared animated as he chatted with the royal mother-of-three
An animated Princess of Wales spoke with the legendary tennis player as they watched play begin on Centre Court on the second day of Wimbledon
As they sat down to watch play begin on Centre Court , Kate could be seen chatting with her old friend
Lady Gabriella and Prince Michael were animated as they watched the action unfold on Centre Court today
Meanwhile Lady Gabriella Kingston and Prince Michael of Kent were among the attendees at the tennis match today
Lady Gabriella, who appeared delighted to be watching the tennis, was joined by her husband Thomas Kingston at the match
The royal, who is a distant cousin of the King, leaned across to chat with her husband Thomas during the match
Kate has long been a good friend of Federer, and has made a number of appearances with him over the years.
As a fan, Kate has been seen cheering Roger on several times throughout his career as he battled it out on the court at Wimbledon.
In 2017, Kate shocked fans by breaking royal protocol when she planted three kisses on Federer’s cheeks to congratulate him on winning Wimbledon for the eighth time.
She also offered him his unwavering support during tough time, including in 2019 after he lost against Novak Djokovic.
Presenting Federer with the runner-up trophy following an intense game that lasted almost five hours, Kate had friendly words of consolation for the tennis ace, and gently patted him on the arm as the world watched on.
Five years earlier, the Princess of Wales put on a particularly animated display as Federer took on Novak Djokovic in a nail biting final that was eventually won by the Serbian, making his the World’s Number One in front of Rafael Nadal and Federer, who was bumped to third place.
Kate and Federer were due to take part in a charity tennis day last year, but the Princess pulled out following the Queen’s funeral.
He has also visited the Waleses at their home at Anmer Hall in Norfolk – and has given Prince George a private tennis lesson.
And just last week, the royals released a video in which Kate played tennis against Roger.
In a clip shared last week by Kensington Palace on their YouTube channel the pair played a doubles match on No3 Court – where Federer won his first match on the way to taking his first Wimbledon title 20 years ago – to highlight the work of ball boys and girls at the tournament.
Kate managed to get a shot past the Swiss star, prompting him to exclaim: ‘I think it was on the line. Amazing!’
However, the Princess also took the opportunity to try to get some sneaky coaching advice from the former world No1.
After the applause, Mirka appeared to adjust herself in her seat before play began on Centre Court
Roger stood alongside his wife Mirka as the applause continued on Centre Court at Wimbledon today
Kate and Mirka continued the applause before Roger took a seat between them in the front row of the box
Mirka, who has been married to Federer since 2009, looked lovingly at her husband during the standing ovation
Having a royally good time! Kate, who is an avid tennis fan, and Roger shared a giggle together during the standing ovation
Kate and Roger appeared to share a few words as he arrived on Centre Court for the tribute this afternoon
The Princess leaned in to chat with her close friend Roger, whom she is believed to have played with a number of times
Meanwhile in a friendly move, Roger placed a hand on the Princess’ back as she continued applauding the eight time Wimbledon winner
The royal mother-of-three leaned in to chat with her friend Roger, whom she has known for a number of years
Roger offered a friendly handshake to another attendee at the event in Wimbledon earlier this afternoon
The Princess, who is known to be close friends with Federer, joined the crowd in applauding the legendary player as he arrived on the court
After kissing his wife on the cheek, it was a friendly greeting for the Princess too, with Roger placing a hand on her back
The Princess continued to lead the standing ovation as Roger kissed his wife on the cheek as he arrived in the box
During the standing ovation, Roger greeted his wife Mirka with a kiss on the cheek, as she placed a hand on his
The couple, who have been married since 2009, shared a kiss as the tennis legend arrived on Centre Court
The tennis legend, who was won Wimbledon eight times, waved to crowds as he arrived on Centre Court today
Kate was seated in the Royal Box on Centre Court where she was greeted by a standing ovation (pictured)
Before Federer arrived on the court, Kate chatted with his wife Mirka, whom she is believed to have met a number of times
The royal shared a smile with Mirka as she arrived on Centre Court ahead of the Federer tribute today
The Princess was lead to her seat as the crowd on Centre Court applauded her arrival (pictured)
‘Any tips on my serve at the same time would be very helpful,’ she said. But Federer replied only with a compliment, saying: ‘The serve looks good.’
In one cheeky moment, Federer even scolds the Princess for catching a ball instead of letting it bounce.
He said: ‘Are you allowed to do that? At Australia, they catch it but in Wimbledon, they don’t!’
What’s more, the Princess also took the opportunity to try to get some sneaky coaching advice from the former world No1.
‘Any tips on my serve at the same time would be very helpful,’ Kate said.
But Federer replied only with a compliment, saying: ‘The serve looks good.’
Keen tennis player Kate said: ‘Wimbledon is renowned for its amazingly professional ball boys and ball girls.
Meanwhile Kate also turned around to chat to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in the Royal Box during the event today
Nazanin was beaming as she spoke to the Princess on Centre Court, before apparently crossing her fingers
‘The amount of work it takes, it’s incredible to see it behind the scenes.’ She then said: ‘It’s so good to see you, Roger,’ before walking on to the court for their match.
Meanwhile, Roger has been married to Mirka, a former WTA tennis player, since 2009.
They met while they were both competing for Switzerland in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Mirka retired from the tour in 2002 because of a foot injury and has since worked as Federer’s public relations manager.
Their relationship is said to be one of the most enduring in the temptation-filled world of competitive sport.
In an interview, Federer once said of Mirka: ‘As long as I wake up in the monring and she is next to me, that’s all that matters.’
It’s unlikely today will be Kate’s only visit to the tournament this year – the royal is known to be an avid fan.
Kate watched while No 1 Katie Boulter (above) took on Australia’s Daria Saville on Court 18 as she looks to better her third-placed finish at Wimbledon in 2022
Boulter, who won her first WTA title at Nottingham and reached the semi-finals at Surbiton, goes into Wimbledon as the top-ranked British player in the women’s singles
As the heavens opened above SW19, Kate quickly took shelter beneath a Wimbledon umbrella, before play was halted due to the showers. It is set to resume at 1pm – weather permitting
As well as Boulter, eight other British players will be taking to the courts on Tuesday (pictured)
The family even have a court at their country home, Anmer Hall in Norfolk.
Last year, she and Prince William were joined by their son Prince George for the event.
The Princess has incorporated tennis into a number of royal engagements, even joining Emma Raducanu on court for a homecoming victory match following her US Open win last year.
Rain is forecast for much of the day Tuesday in southwest London.
Matches began on most courts shortly after 11 a.m. at the All England Club, but the tarps came out as the rain came down about an hour later.
Kate joined former tennis player Laura Robson to watch a little of the action ahead of the ceremony at 1pm, sitting in the crowd to watch Katie Boulter playing against Daria Saville.
Kate managed to watch a little of Katie, who won her first WTA title at Nottingham and reached the semi-finals at Surbiton, before rain called off play.
The break comes at a good time for the Brit – who is 6-5 down in the first.
Elsewhere this morning, Italian tennis star Jannik Sinner made a surprising fashion choice for his first round Wimbledon clash with Francisco Cerundolo.
Jannik Sinner made a bold fashion choice for his opening Wimbledon match as he walked out onto Centre Court with a luxury custom Gucci duffel bag
Despite the strict rule book that regulates what players can wear or carry out onto the court, the 21-year-old stepped out onto Centre Court carrying a custom Gucci duffel bag.
It featured the signature GG monogram with a green and red web stripe with his initials marked against where the straps connect to the brown leather.
Sinner’s bold fashion choice was the first time that a luxury bag has made an appearance on Centre Court at Wimbledon.
As well as Boulter, eight other British players will be taking to the courts on Tuesday.
Spectators on Centre Court will later watch the battle of the Brits begins between Andy Murray and Ryan Peniston.
On Court One, Cameron Norrie will face Tomas Machac from the Czech Republic.
British colleagues Heather Watson, George Loffhagen, Arthur Fery and Sonay Kartal will also play while Dan Evans continues his match after it was suspended on Monday.
Wimbledon saw the highest attendance on day one of the tournament since 2015, organisers said.
The Princess opted to wear her go-to Wimbledon accessory – a purple and green bow – which is actually a symbol of royal patronage, gifted to her from the late Queen
After play stopped, Kate swept away from the court alongside Deborah and Laura, who also sheltered beneath brollies
Despite rain calling off play, Kate was in high spirits and beamed as she shared an umbrella with Deborah
Kate didn’t let the rain in London dampen her spirits as she arrived for her first visit to Wimbledon this year
As the rain began to pour over Wimbledon, Kate huddled up with Deborah Jevans beneath an umbrella
As the heavens opened above SW19, Kate quickly took shelter beneath a Wimbledon umbrella as she continued to watch the action
Going up! After a few droplets of rain, Kate quickly popped open an umbrella which she shared with Deborah
The Princess appeared excited to watch play commence as she took a seat within the crowd, putting up an umbrella as it began to rain
During the match, Kate’s attention appeared to be captured when a bee flew close to her (pictured)
The Princess, who showcased her summer tan at the event, swept her hair to one side and was beaming with excitement ahead of the match
The Princess joined former tennis player Laura Robson to watch a little of the action ahead of the ceremony, sitting in the crowd to watch Katie Boulter playing against Daria Saville
The royal mother-of-three swept her hair over her shoulder as she watched play during the tournament today
Kate chatted with former player Laura Robson as they sat down together to watch the match at the club
It wasn’t long before she took a seat in the crowds to watch the action unfold on the second day of the contest
Kate’s bow – what is the meaning behind the Princess’ favourite Wimbledon accessory?
Avid royal fans may have noticed Kate Middleton wearing her favourite green an purple bow over the years.
But even the keenest of fans may not realise that the royal’s go-to Wimbledon accessory is actually a symbol of royal patronage, gifted to her from the late Queen.
In 2016 the Princess took over the role of patron to the All England Croquet Club from the late Queen.
The green and purple bow is worn by members of the Committee of Management during the Fortnight – the Main Board of the AELTC and representatives of the LTA. It signifies their responsibilities as the Committee governing the tournament.
The Patron has always traditionally been given a Committee bow in recognition of her role, which is why the Princess has chosen to wear it when visiting The Championships.
The colours of dark green and purple were introduced in 1909 as the club’s previous colours, blue, yellow, red and green, were too similar to those of the Royal Marines.
The Patron has always traditionally been given a Committee bow in recognition of her role, which is why the Princess chooses to wear it while visiting Wimbledon.
According to the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), 42,815 people attended the championships on Monday, which means there were over 6,000 more spectators than last year when 36,603 people visited.
Michelle Dite, operations director for AELTC, told reporters that 11,500 people gained entry to the grounds via the queue on Monday.
She added: ‘We had our highest attendance at the championships on day one since 2015 yesterday.’
On Tuesday morning, fans in the queue were optimistic about their chances of watching the second day of the tournament after hold-ups at security frustrated spectators on Monday.
Kate has long been a good friend of Federer, and has made a number of appearances with him over the years
The Princess opted for a pair of pearl drop earrings for the occasion, sweeping her hair to one side to show the jewels off
The royal mother-of-three glided down the stairs at the All England tennis club as she arrived for the event
At today’s event, she wore her hair in loose waves across her shoulders and opted for neutral makeup, with a sweep of eyeliner and a touch of blusher
Kate arrived a little earlier than the expected tribute for Federer – which is set to happen at 1pm on Centre Court
The Princess appeared in good spirits as she arrived for the event in SW19 earlier this morning (pictured)
Having a royally good time! Kate beamed as she chatted with members of staff as she arrived at the court
The Princess, who has long been a fan of Wimbledon and often attends, chatted with Deborah Jevans and Laura Robson as she arrived at the event
Kate appeared in high spirits as she made her first appearance at the tournament for this year (pictured)
Later today, Kate will watch as fans will be treated to a special video montage of Federer’s best moments through the years
The royal – who has been patron of the All England Lawn Tennis Club since 2016 – opted for a smart pleated white skirt and mint £1,950 Balmain blazer for the occasion
The Princess opted for a smart white bag for the occasion, which she matched with white buttons on her blazer
The royal appeared to show off her summer tan with the dazzling white pleated midi skirt and matching heels
The Princess appeared to chat to staff at Wimbledon – a tournament she attends every year – as she arrived
The Princess looked elegant in a mint blazer with white buttons as she arrived for day two of the tennis tournament
On day one, some spectators who had visited Wimbledon in previous years said the queue was the ‘worst’ they had seen.
Organisers said extra checks – put in place over concerns about protests – were to blame for the slow queue.
The championships will run until July 16.
‘Bring back Sue Barker!’ Tennis fans slam ‘truly dreadful’ new format of BBC’s Today at Wimbledon with Qasa Alom
During Wimbledon fortnight, the BBC’s popular highlights show is a staple for tennis fans who can’t watch the live action during the day.
However, this year’s revamped version from SW19 – which scraps the familiar studio overlooking Centre Court in favour of al fresco reporting – has already been dubbed ‘dreadful to watch’.
The nightly evening show’s long-term presenter Clare Balding is now fronting the main action, after veteran host Sue Barker retired last year.
Monday night’s first episode of Today at Wimbledon saw new presenter Qasa Alom taking the helm alone, with the programme featuring mostly pre-recorded analysis with experts captured earlier in the day – and many much-loved faces absent from the coverage.
Alom, a long-time tennis fan, was named the new presenter of Today at Wimbledon after Clare Balding moved on to the BBC’s main coverage of the tennis tournament – but fans have complained about the new format of the highlights show
This summer, Alom will join Isa Guha on Today at Wimbledon, while Clare Balding will step into Sue Barker’s shoes
Today at Wimbledon host Alom speaking to new pundit Feliciano López in a pre-recorded segment for the programme
One armchair critic declared the show was: ‘Truly dreadful to watch. More bizarre ideas from the BBC. Sort it and bring the traditional format back.’
Another said they missed Wimbledon’s familiar faces, writing: Bring back Sue Barker and John McEnroe for highlights show in the evening. Dull as dishwater without McEnroe.’
Another agreed, writing: ‘What a let down. At least the theme song remains…’
One tennis fan wrote: ‘Not enjoying the format change of #TodayAtWimbledon at all. I know things change, but it feels completely impersonal and clinical now. No ‘behind the scenes’ atmosphere, no chatty analysis, no human connection.’
And another added: ‘Completely agree, no sat around a table discussing the days play live in the evening. I’m all for trying something new, and accept that presenters change, but this was not good. Much preferred the old format. Clinical is a good description.’
Alom has previously presented a Radio 4 programmes on one of the sport’s most iconic stars, Arthur Ashe, and also takes an interest in cricket, rugby and athletics.
But fans admitted they were missing Sue Barker – and others not seen at Wimbledon this year, including Boris Becker, who was released from prison in December after serving eight months of his two-and-a-half-year sentence for bankruptcy fraud.
One wrote: ‘It’s a joke that’s gone too far – bring back Boris Becker, Sue Barker and keep Annabel Croft.’
Meanwhile, Barker appears to have found a new way to spend her summers. The presenter, who presented the BBC’s coverage of the tournament for 30 years, was spotted driving a top of the range Porsche 911 Turbo S in the Cotswolds last weekend.
The presenter (pictured) has been at the helm of several television and radio shows, and now makes documentaries on his YouTube channel
Qasa doesn’t share much about his personal life, although he is very fond of his cockapoo, Rafa (who may well be named after Rafael Nadal)
Ms Barker, 67, was pictured climbing into the vehicle, which costs upwards of £180,000 and has a top speed of 205mph, before donning a pair of sunglasses and driving off.
Ms Barker was paid a six-figure salary of up to £189,999, according to last year’s BBC high earners list.
She stepped down from presenting Wimbledon coverage last summer after 30 years, receiving an emotional farewell from tennis stars Tim Henman, Andy Murray and Roger Federer.
Barker has revealed she ‘didn’t want to get slowly phased out’ of presenting Wimbledon.
Speaking to BBC’s Women’s Hour earlier this year, the presenter said she ‘wanted to be at the top job forever’, adding: ‘I wanted to do Wimbledon on my own terms. BBC Sport offered me a new contract, but I knew with age and time and with everything that’s happening around that over the next few years I would get phased out slightly.’
New presenter Qasa Alom was part of the team on the BBC’s coverage of the Commonwealth Games as well as the London Marathon – and has also been at the helm of shows on the BBC’s Asian Network and 5 Live.
Elsewhere, the filmmaker runs his own YouTube channel, QasaVision, which explores issues stemming from the climate crisis, and he is passionate about protecting the environment.
By summer 2021 he had been enlisted as a presenter of The Hundred, and also launched a podcast with Davis Cup champion Dominic Inglot, the Real Tennis Pod, where he discusses one of his greatest passions.
If Alom wasn’t busy enough, he also travels around the world making short documentaries for his YouTube channel, QasaVision.
In particular, the environmentalist (who also spoke at COP 27), uses the channel to explore communities who have been affected by climate change in some way.
One video sees Alom travel to the community of Sunamganj in Bangladesh, which is flooded for eight months out of the year, to see how the people living there coped with the extreme weather conditions.
In another, Alom travelled around Europe where he reported on the wildfires raging through forests across the continent.
Recently, Alom teamed up with journalist Matthew Parris to profile tennis icon Arthure Ashe, who was the first black man to win Wimbledon and campaigned for social justice off the court.
In his personal life, Alom appears to enjoy travelling and has taken recent trips to European destinations such as Ibiza and Rome. When he’s at home, he hangs out with his dog, Rafa – who may well have been named after tennis star Rafa Nadal.
Writing on Instagram about his new presenting gig last night, Alom said: ‘Can’t wait to roam around SW19, watch tennis, analyse the matches with the ex-players and just have a bit of fun making some great TV!’