During these 70 years of reign, Elizabeth II has ennobled many sportsmen. Overview of these athletes who have become « Sir »
In France, there is the Legion of Honor, in the United Kingdom, one reaches the honorary rank of “Sir”. Throughout her reign, Elizabeth II had the opportunity to welcome many athletes to Buckingham Castle.
The list of athletes ennobled by the Queen is impressive… and long.
Bobby Charlton is the symbol of the first, and only, football World Cup won by England in 1966. by Elizabeth II. Indeed, it was only 28 years later that Bobby Charlton was elevated to the rank of « Sir ». It’s done “Knight Bachelor”which is the lowest order in British chivalry.
If he had already been ennobled in 1974, being elevated to the rank of Commander of the Order of the British Empire, he did not yet have the right to use the rank of « Sir » before his first name. It is indeed necessary to integrate the order of chivalry to claim it.
Sir Alex Ferguson, the most popular Scottish nobleman
Another Manchester United legend was also inducted ‘Sir’ during the reign of Elizabeth II. This is Alex Ferguson, the Scottish coach of the good times of the Red Devils. After being made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1983, then a Commander in 1995, he was elevated to the rank of “Knight Bachelor” in 1999. It is the queen in person who dubs him, in Buckingham. On this occasion, he was given the keys to the Scottish city of Aberdeen.
If football has many ennobled representatives under its orders, other disciplines have the right of citizenship. British tennis has a knight in its ranks. In this case, Andy Murray, who in 2016 became the first British tennis player to be world number 1, under the Open era. In 2019, he was elevated to the rank of “Knight Bachelor” by royalty. A rank also due to his charitable commitment. If the decision is made by Elizabeth II, it is Prince Charles who gives him his reward at Buckingham.
Athlete or politician. The labels attached to Sebastian Coe are numerous. After his sports career, during which he won the Olympic Games in Moscow in 1980 and Los Angeles in 1984, over 1,500 meters, the former world record holder returned to politics. In 1990, he joined the Conservative Party and sat in the House of Commons. Coe will continue his career with the International Athletics Federation. And even within the organizing committee of the London Olympics, since he was its president, after having worked for the competition to arrive in England. This earned him to be honored by the Queen, in 2005, with the title of Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. A reward after being made Baron of Ranmore.
If Chris Froome was knighted by the Queen, he does not have the title of « Sir » like Bradley Wiggins. And this, since 2013, year when he was elevated to the rank of knight by the queen. Winner of the Tour de France in 2012, he became the first Briton to win the Grande Boucle that year. Only a few months before shining at the Olympic Games at home, with a title in the time trial.
With his seven Formula 1 world championship titles, Lewis Hamilton also had the right to the honors of the Crown. In December 2021, he was indeed elevated to the rank of “Sir”, during a ceremony officiated by Prince Charles. And this a few months after being knighted by the queen. He thus became the fifth F1 driver to achieve this distinction in the order of British knighthood, after Jack Brabham Stirling Moss, Patrick Head, Frank Williams and Jackie Stewart.
The queen was above all an avid equestrian. Owner of many horses, she went very frequently to races, notably at Royal Ascot or the Epsom derby. For her contribution to equestrian sport, she even received the most prestigious award from the International Federation, the “Lifetime Achievement Award”. She transmitted this love to several members of her family, including her daughter Anne, European eventing champion in 1971 and European vice-champion in 1975. The latter even participated in the Montreal Olympics in 1976. career followed by her own daughter Zara Phillips, crowned European champion (2005), world champion (2006) and Olympic vice-champion (2012) in eventing.
The art of making an impression
From the London Games in 2012, several performances were retained. But not just sports. For the needs of the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, Elizabeth II had performed a skit with James Bond (Daniel Craig), ending with a parachute jump above the Olympic stadium. A typical scene of English humor. The real queen, 86 at the time, had finally made her appearance in the stadium stands by then.