Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate 70 years on the British throne this weekend, becoming the country’s first monarch to ever reach the milestone.
To put that into perspective (or better yet, footballing terms), that’s just over two and a half times longer than Sir Alex Ferguson’s time in charge of Manchester United. Fergie would argue that he’s won more Champions League and Premier League titles than the Queen however, so, swings and roundabouts and all that.
But contrary to popular belief, the royal family do have long and lasting connections with football. Let’s take a look at their allegiances…
There has never been an official answer from the Queen or her representatives, but it’s long been speculated that Elizabeth II is a fan of West Ham.
Suggestions have also been put forward that she has a soft spot for Arsenal, though that’s largely because of the Gunners’ visit to Buckingham Palace near the peak of their powers in the 2000s.
Prince William, who is the president of the Football Association, is a famous Aston Villa fan and has talked at length about his love of the club, stressing that his children will be made to support them too. However, Kate Middleton confessed in recent years that she is a Chelsea fan.
Prince Harry has never fully disclosed his allegiances but he is believed to be a fan of Arsenal – a claim which grew stronger when he was once overheard saying that most royal family members support the Gunners.
Neither William or Harry chose to follow the club their father supported with Prince Charles admitting that he is a fan of Burnley, though this is largely down to the charity work he’s carried out in the area around Turf Moor.
In the 20th century, Spanish football clubs could be honoured by their royal family – the most notable example is Real Madrid.
However, such a tradition does not exist in the United Kingdom. The closest such bestowment in England is Reading being nicknamed ‘the Royals’ due to their standing as the only professional football club in the royal county of Berkshire.
While there isn’t a football club particularly close to Buckingham Palace, there is one to Windsor Castle. Windsor FC, nicknamed ‘the Royalists’, compete in the Combined Counties League Premier Division North and play their home games at Stag Meadow, roughly a half-hour walk from the royal residence.
Rangers’ home dressing room at Ibrox features a portrait of the Queen, with former manager Graeme Souness reported to have been the brain behind such an idea.