The Queen’s relationship with football – from World Cup win to who she supported

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While horse racing was always Queen Elizabeth II's sport of choice, she also shared a special relationship with the beautiful game.

When speaking to Premier League chairman David Richards in 2006, the monarch quipped: "Football's a difficult business, and aren't they prima donnas. But it's a wonderful game." And her love affair with football stretched over generations.

The game has changed beyond recognition since Her Majesty, then just Princess Elizabeth, took to the royal box for the 1949 FA Cup final.

And as the world mourns the loss of the Queen, Daily Star Sport looks into the relationship the beautiful game shared with the UK's longest reigning monarch.

1966 World Cup

The Queen was present for football's most famous hour on these shores as Sir Geoff Hurst blasted the ball past the hapless Hans Tilkowski to hand England its only World Cup triumph.

As Bobby Moore headed up the steps at Wembley to collect the Jules Rimet trophy, he noticed the Queen had decided to wear white gloves. The quick-thinking Moore was seen wiping his hands to avoid embarrassing himself.

Sir Geoff later recalled: "Bobby noticed the Queen was wearing gloves. He had the foresight not to dirty the Queen’s gloves. He wiped his hands on the parapet just before he collected the trophy.”

The image of Moore and Her Majesty smiling at each other as the Queen handed across the Jules Rimet trophy has become one of the most enduring in English football.

The Queen said ahead of the Euro 2020 final: "55 years ago I was fortunate to present the World Cup to Bobby Moore and saw what it meant to the players, management and support staff to reach and win the final of a major international football tournament.

“I want to send my congratulations and that of my family to you all on reaching the final of the European Championship."

Who did the Queen support?

The footballing allegiance of Her Majesty was long disputed during her 70 years on the throne.

Millwall claimed that she regularly attended matches – mingling anonymously with the locals – while West Ham fans also suggested she was a Hammer. However, it appeared most likely that Arsenal were her team of choice after inviting the entire squad to Buckingham Palace in 2007.

“It seems the Queen follows football and she told us she was an Arsenal fan. She appeared to definitely know who I was and we exchanged a few special words," Cesc Fabregas recently told Spanish radio.

Knighting England managers and players

Over her 70 years on the throne, the Queen knighted 17 football personalities for their services to the beautiful game.

The first of those was Sir Stanley Matthews, and he remains the only footballer to receive the honour while still an active player. There were also knighthoods for England's heroes of 1966, Sir Alex Ferguson, and Sir Bobby Robson among others.

The final footballer to be knighted by Her Majesty was Sir Kenny Dalglish, who was knighted in 2018 for services to Football, to Charity and to the City of Liverpool.

David Beckham, who queued for 13 hours with the public last week to view the Queen's coffin ahead of Monday's funeral, was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty.

FA Cup finals

The Queen was most visible at football during FA Cup finals, and it was here she had her first official royal duty – presenting Wolves with the 1949 trophy.

In 1953 she was back at the Old Wembley to witness one of the best virtuoso performances ever delivered in an FA Cup final. Sir Stanley Matthews inspired his Blackpool side to a 4-3 win over Bolton Wanderers.

Her Majesty handed Sir Stanley the FA Cup trophy in a final that has been immortalised as the 'Matthews final'.

A few years later, in the 1956 final, Liverpool captain Ron Yeats broke all royal protocol when he told the Queen: “I’m absolutely knackered!” However, the Queen quickly quipped back: “I’ll bet you are…!”

Her Majesty was in the royal box when Manchester City shot-stopper Bert Trautmann broke his neck but continued to play on to help City win. Almost 50 years later, Trautmann was awarded an OBE, and the Queen reportedly asked him about his neck all those years later.

The Queen's final FA Cup appearance came in 1976 when she watched Southampton upset Manchester United.


Rangers defiantly ignored UEFA's ban as they provided a spectacular tribute to the Queen in their Champions League clash last Tuesday.

The Scottish side shares a special relationship with the monarch – and they even have a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II in their changing room. The tribute was completed with a rendition of God Save the King and a tifo depicting the Queen's side profile.

Rangers are renowned for their love for the Queen and the royal family.

Meeting Pele at the Maracana

Her Majesty watched a friendly between Pele's Santos and Sao Paulo in 1968, and after meeting Pele she retorted: "I already know him by name. And I feel very happy to greet him." Years later, the Queen presented Pele with the unique honour of a KBE.

Pele said after her passing: "I have been a great admirer of Queen Elizabeth II since the first time I saw her in person, in 1968, when she came to Brazil to witness our love for football and experienced the magic of a packed Maracanã.

"Her deeds have marked generations. This legacy will last forever."


  • Brian Clough told Princess Diana 'you're more beautiful than I ever thought'

  • Fans spot Mykolenko's heartwarming gesture during national anthem at Everton

  • Celtic fans hijack tribute with 'clap your hands if you hate the royals' banner

  • FA Cup
  • Premier League
  • World Cup
  • Queen
  • Pele
  • Rangers FC
  • Arsenal FC
  • HMS Queen Elizabeth
  • David Beckham
  • Champions League

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