Wimbledon 2010 has been a royal occasion in more ways than one.
Sure, the current queens of the tournament, Serena and Venus Williams, top the seedings and have sailed through to their rightful place in the second week.
Of course, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal top the men’s list and have, rather less regally, sailed into Week Two.
But on Thursday, the questions these players were asked related not to tennis but to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, who paid her first visit to the championships since 1977.
That happened to be the last year that a British player won a title on the hallowed turf—Virginia Wade. She took a seat behind the Queen in the Royal Box alongside a pair of other British women champions—Ann Jones and Angela Mortimer Barrett.
The three British "Queens of Wimbledon," however, managed just one title apiece and will not find a place in this celebration of the greatest women to grace the emerald court.
But Her Majesty did meet two of the highest Wimbledon achievers—Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King. She also met the two current queens of SW19—the Williams sisters. All four feature later in the story that began, for women, in 1884 at the All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club.
First, it is the charismatic yet tragically short career of Maureen Connolly.