Princess Kate will hand out Wimbledon trophies regardless of players’ nationalities

Last year, Wimbledon banned all Russian and Belarusian tennis players from the Slam tournament. It was said that the Johnson government heavily leaned on the All-England club and the club was convinced that it would be a public relations disaster if a Russian or Belarusian player won the championship, besides which, the government would probably put up a fight about issuing visas to Russian and Belarusian nationals. Tennis’s governing bodies weren’t happy about the ban and Wimbledon was stripped of its ranking points, which meant that when Elena Rybakina, a Russian-born Moscow resident (who plays under Kazakhstan’s flag), won the ladies’ championship, she didn’t get the rankings boost she deserved.

Currently, the All-England hasn’t officially made a decision about whether they’ll ban Russians and Belarusians this year, but the governing bodies are once again leaning heavily on the Slam and there are rumors that no one will be banned this year. In addition to all of the politics of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the politicization of tennis players, Kensington Palace decided to make last year’s ban all about the then-Duchess of Cambridge, now the Princess of Wales. It was claimed last year that the All-England banned Russians and Belarusians to avoid “embarrassing” Kate, the patron of the club. One article even claimed: “The prospect of embarrassing the All England Club’s patron – given her emotional investment in the sport – by asking her to hand the men’s singles trophy to Daniil Medvedev was simply too much to bear.”

Which brings up an interesting argument: is handing out a trophy a political act or a political endorsement? Because if it is, Kate handed the Venus Rosewater dish to a Russian citizen and the gentleman’s trophy to an anti-Vaxx Serbian last year. Was that Kate implicitly politically endorsing the politics of Russia and anti-science, anti-vaxx idiocy? As I argued last year, it felt like Kate was inserting herself to the larger issue and trying to take credit for being “the reason” why Wimbledon banned those players. It was a dumb move. It looks like she’s not going to make the same mistake this year:

The Princess of Wales intends to continue with the tradition of presenting the Wimbledon singles trophies this year regardless of whether the champions are from Russia or Belarus. Despite concerns over a high-profile member of the royal family handing over the silverware during the invasion of Ukraine by military forces from Russia and Belarus, sources have said that the princess plans to fulfil her duties as the All England Club’s patron.

Wimbledon organisers are expected to lift the ban on entrants from Russia and Belarus in the next two weeks. Players from both nations will be permitted to compete as neutral competitors, with no mention of where they hail from beside their names on scoreboards and television graphics.

The All England Club has kept Kensington Palace updated during the long decision-making process. While there were initial concerns among some club officials about the propaganda that could potentially be derived from the princess standing on Centre Court alongside a champion from Russia or Belarus, there has been no indication from the palace that the princess will not attend the women’s singles final on July 15 and the men’s singles final on July 16.

Last year the princess presented the women’s singles trophy, the Venus Rosewater Dish, to a player born in Moscow. Elena Rybakina, 23, was allowed to compete in the 2022 championships because she has represented Kazakhstan since 2018. “She congratulated me,” Rybakina said afterwards. “She said that I played really well. I was in shock so maybe half [of it] I didn’t hear. But for sure she was super nice. It was amazing to get the trophy from her.”

The attitude shift of organisers this year comes after 12 months of Russians and Belarusians competing on the men’s and women’s tours as neutral athletes without making any pro-war gestures. British tennis as a whole had also come under considerable pressure from the ATP and WTA with more than £1 million of fines for last year’s ban and the threat of the LTA’s expulsion from tour membership should the ban continue this year.

[From The Times]

This is fine. In fact, this should have been the message last year from Kensington Palace: don’t politicize Kate, she’s just there to enjoy tennis and hand out trophies, and trophy presentations are not political endorsements. The whole idea of making the ban all about Kate was offensive beyond belief, so it’s good to see some backtracking.

As for Wimbledon allowing Russians and Belarusians again this year… I think it’s the right call, especially given how well those players are currently doing on the two tours. Russians Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov are three of the most popular players on the men’s tour and all three are highly ranked. Aryna Sabalenka, a Belarusian, just won the Australian Open and she’s quite popular too. I heard a rumor that the Russian players offered to sign an explicit anti-war memo in an attempt to convince Wimbledon to let them play, only Wimbledon turned down their offer.

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40 Responses to “Princess Kate will hand out Wimbledon trophies regardless of players’ nationalities”

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  1. Brassy Rebel says:

    She looks ghastly in these pictures. Maybe it was the heat.

    • Seaflower says:

      She looks like her mother in the hair toss/tongue out one. I’ll leave it up to readers to decide if that is a compliment.

      • May Bench says:

        Her mother’s face is aging badly with sags. I’m 77 and don’t have these kinds of sags in my face. Starving yourself makes for aging rapidly and Kate looks like she starves herself. Horrible sense of style also.

    • HeatherC says:

      Natural light isn’t her friend, especially with the way she applies make up

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      The one where she leans in to “pose” next to George really bothers me. Your son is not a prop! What is she grinning at? Why does she need to lean in to grin, shouldn’t she be leaning in to SPEAK (not grin)? Nothing about that photo makes sense, it bothers my Austim spectrum!!

  2. Nic919 says:

    When the Duke of Kent and prior to that the Duchess of Kent handed out the trophies they never inserted themselves as part of the stories. They just handed out the trophies. Kate and her people need to stay out of the tournament politics because we know she only focuses on her hair and outfit for the day.

    She’s done nothing help girls in tennis except for the one time the radicanu won the US Open and then nothing since.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      Yeah, well, Kate wanted it, so too bad for the Kents.

      • Tessa says:

        It should have gone to a member of the kent family. Marina duchess of kent and her daughter in law Catherine were beloved by tennis fans and the tennis players. They were so much better at it than keen.

  3. Dhianna says:

    Who actually wears wiglets, hair pieces….etc. to a tennis match??

    • Dee says:

      Katie Keen! Katie Keen! She’s here, she’s there, she’s every (f) where! Katie Keen!
      Everywhere she goes, the wiglets tag along.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Spare not only told us how status was VVV important to Catty, it also told us just how vain she is. I will never forget his shade when he said ‘dressed up to the nines’ while over for dinner with him and Meghan (who was casually dressed).

      Her appearance is also VVV important to her.

      • Moxylady says:

        I’m envisioning her in a full length jewel embroidered gown with diamond drops and a tiara 😂😂 Omg and a sash.
        H & M in jeans. She holds out her hand like the queen, expecting a curtesy.
        H gives her a low five instead.

      • Jais says:

        Also when after first meeting her he says she was nice and really liked clothes. And now he knows that she’s actually not nice, but still really likes clothes, especially those already worn by his wife.

  4. Woke says:

    The edge they try to give her by inserting her in stuff that are none of her business or with the most basic things she does baffles me. I hope she’s taking note of how the queen thing is going on for Camilla, she’s not going to be a hot young queen I hope she knows that.

  5. Amy Bee says:

    I don’t know if it was KP who had concerns or the Wimbledon but in the end they just ended up looking stupid when Kate had to hand the trophy to Rybakina. Hopefully she has to hand to the trophy over to Medvedev.

  6. Becks1 says:

    This should have been the response last year. Kate is just there to hand out trophies.

    I always found the whole “oh Kate would be embarrassed” line offensive anyway bc it made it sound like Kate was this helpless victim of circumstance etc.

    • Chrissy says:

      Kate has done many more offensive things to be embarrassed about than the possibility of handing out tennis trophies to tennis players. The fact that flashing her biscuit or not weighting her hems didn’t embarrass her makes that argument look ridiculous. Poor, fragile Kate said no one ever.

    • Mrs.Krabapple says:

      Apparently, “poor Kate” cannot be taxed with handing out a trophy. She wouldn’t need to say anything, but she cannot handle even *that* —

      “asking her to hand the men’s singles trophy to Daniil Medvedev was simply too much to bear.”

      Simply too much to bear. She took the ceremonial duty away from the Kents in the first place, and now she can’t even bear it. What a useless [$*&?!/#].

  7. Mary Pester says:

    Of course she isn’t there just to hand out trophy’s. She’s there to say loud and louder “LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME”, it’s all about what she will wear, what she will say, who will sit next to her, how many times that God awful tongue will flap around and how many horse like neighs she will give. Let the last (retired) champion hand out trophies, someone like Martina, just lock Khate in a room with her wiglets and jewellery and she will be happy. She can practice looking down her nose to her hearts content, practise her waving (so she no longer looks like a seal on speed) practice the tilt of her head, and then we can let her out in time…………….. For George’s 18th 😳

  8. Em says:

    Allowing Russian Athletes to play is wrong because the Russian government is so heavily involved in sports and uses Russian athletes for propaganda and image-boosting purposes. In fact, sports in Russia are indivisible from propaganda. Not to mention all the Ukrainian athletes that have died on the battlefield so far. It is a moral imperative to ban Russian athletes. Not doing only strengthens that bloody regime.

    It sucks for players who mean well, but this is the harsh reality we live in. Anything that weakens and excludes a genocidal government needs to be done.

    And yes, it would look terrible for Kate to hand a trophy to a Russian athlete.

    • Moxylady says:

      Agree. So hard.
      Russian athletes are completely owned and trained and used by the Russian government to project their physical “superiority”.
      China does this as well and everyone knows it and doesn’t disagree or argue with it.
      Russia is using its athletes to prove that they aren’t being rejected by the world and as a sign of global approval / permission of their actions to their allied nations.

      • Em says:

        I totally agree Moxylady. And Putin not only uses Russian athletics to prop up the image of his country abroad, but also to incite feelings of nationalism at home. Let’s not forget that fascist rally held in Moscow with a large group of athletes wearing the “Z” symbol.

        Sports are DIRECTLY tied to fascism and nationalism in Russia. Very similar to sports in Nazi Germany, frankly.

        And don’t get me started on Russian state-sponsored doping.

        Enough is enough. Russia must face consequences for its atrocities.

    • Curmudgeon says:

      Came here to say exactly this.

      It is absolutely not the right call to let any Russian athletes play because of how their image is used by and bolsters the Russian regime at a time when they’re openly committing genocide. Support for Ukraine should not be conditional just because people wanna see their fav Russians play, this is not that hard.

      As for Keen, she wore a pro-Putin Russian designer’s dress after the invasion and her people tried to hide it. Let’s not pretend she knows or cares about optics or even what’s going on beyond her insulated little world.

    • Mtl.Ex.pat says:

      Agree. Of course the number of Russian oligarchs that the royal family wants to keep happy since they’re known for being in bed with the Russians likely had something to do with this decision, as well as all of the property in London that is owned by Russian interests. Figure skating has had a lot of issues over the years, but I was very pleased to see that Russians were banned from the world championships this past week.

    • Emily says:

      Hard agree. Kate is irrelevant in all this but Russian players should be banned. It’s not fair to the Russian players, but what the Russians are doing to Ukraine isn’t fair either.

    • QuiteContrary says:

      Completely agree with this. Until Putin stops propagandizing Russia’s athletes, they should be banned from competition.

    • Robert Phillips says:

      It’s still 4 months away. By then Russians may not be able to travel anywhere in the world. Or Putin might even send the athletes to the front because he’s running out of cannon fodder. A lot will change between now and then.

  9. Moxylady says:

    Can someone explain the reasoning behind allowing Russian tennis players or Belarusian tennis players to play on the world stage while their country (unless they play under another flag) commits the most heinous of war crimes against a country who the majority of russians / Belarusians believe to be racially inferior to them? The Ukraine and it’s people are reviled on the most basic level by so many Russians. Even Navalny called them “dogs”.
    I mean in all honesty – there has been many times in history that the USA should not have been allowed to participate but we are a global good cop/ bad cop/ laughing stock that I get why it didn’t happen. We wouldn’t want the USA to decide some of these countries need some “democracy” just cuz we couldn’t complete in the Olympics because we killed tens of thousands of innocent civilians in Iraq or Syria etc etc etc.

  10. Khate’s Mourning Wig says:

    A question and a thought. The thought first. I have cognitive dissonance – this dried out husk of a woman is the same person who speaks in unintelligible baby talk in her speeches. I’m even some what of an apologist for her because I’m part of the army of the shy, awkward people of the world. But I suspect most awk folks don’t sound like a bashful teenager when they speak in public.

    The question for y’all – what do you think
    Khate is thinking in that first picture?

    • Cecile730 says:

      That’s the thing, she’s not thinking….
      She look like she does not understand what is going on. The usual for her ^^

      I was akward for a long time and knows a lot about it too. The answer to me is either she lacks nutrients and have a hard time keeping tabs on what’s going around her or she using something to forget the marriage she traped herself in.

  11. LaurenAPMT says:

    I don’t give two craps about Kate. I DO care about Wimbledon allowing Russian and Belarusian players compete. All they care about is winning, at any cost. All Putin cares about is winning. It’s unfortunate for the athletes, but removing their ability to win is one of the few ways to stick it to the Russian and Belarusian governments without having to fire a literal shot.

  12. QuiteContrary says:

    I don’t care about this aging trophy wife handing out trophies. But she shouldn’t hand them to Russian athletes.

    What I would like to see is Kate fielding questions about Ukraine and Putin’s use of sports to push his agenda. I could use a laugh.

  13. Kristen from MA says:

    “given her emotional investment in the sport”


  14. Beverley says:

    OfWilliam is so unattractive, inside and out.
    That’s all I got. 🤷🏽‍♀️

  15. alexis says:

    She will be wearing her 6 inch plus heels and thick wiglets to make herself taller than most people. She has to loom over the pesants to exert her own perceived superiority. It is not powerful nor does it make her relevant and important. Her constant cosplaying of Diana reminds me of a character in a low grade horror movie as does her maniacal laugh expressions.

  16. jferber says:

    The pic where she’s leaning over poor George is when he was forced to wear a wool suit and not allowed to remove the jacket (Dad said no) in the stifling summer sun. You can tell how uncomfortable George looks and he might have gotten sun stroke. But his two parents couldn’t care less, apparently, just interested in themselves and their photo ops.

  17. WhatKateHerselfSaidOnPageSix says:

    Omg that top picture, so many things about it, lol. You hardly see pics with her whole upper body, they usually cut her off at the shoulder

  18. Tessa says:

    I hope Charlotte gets to attend this year

  19. Cottage Cat says:

    My God, just look at Middleton’s hard, cold face. And yet the “media” make out that Harry made the wrong “choice”?