Acrimony has broken out at this year’s Wimbledon championship after the celebrity seats usually reserved for tennis-loving minstrel Sir Cliff Richard were commandeered by desperate officials in order to accommodate the Middleton family.
Sir Cliff was said to be ‘furious’ after Wimbledon officials withdrew his booking for Friday’s sell-out semi-final between Andy Murray and France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. ‘Unfortunately we had no choice on this occasion,’ said Major Clive Fosdyke, 74, the Head of Seat Allocations for the All-England Lawn Tennis Club. ‘Once Andy Murray got through the quarters, Buckingham Palace texted me to let me know who wanted to come along, and it turned out to be a bit of a longer list than we anticipated, what.’
While regal interest in Wimbledon rarely rises above one minor Royal attending the final to dish out trophies, this year’s contingent is larger owing to the addition of the Middletons to the pool of Royal guests. ‘We are delighted that the Duchess of Cambridge will be honouring us with her presence,’ said Major Fosdyke. ‘Plus, of course, her husband the Duke, and her sister Pippa, for whom there is always an ample seat in my boxes. But we’re also expecting her father Mr Michael Middleton and mother Carol, as well as her brother James (on a day’s leave from his cake-making emporium), her auntie Jean and uncle Harold, her cousins Cyril and Norman, and her twelve-year-old twin nieces, Sophie and Francesca, alongside Michael’s estranged sister Clarissa O’Shea nee Middleton accompanied by her friend Mrs Ambrosia Phillips and her daughter Marigold Middleton-O’Shea.’
The rise in Royal numbers necessitated drastic solutions, Major Fosdyke admitted. ‘I could just about handle that lot, but when they asked me to squeeze in the Duchess of Cornwall and her step-nieces Beatrice and Eugenie as well, I couldn’t see any way around it but to nab Cliff Richard’s box to accommodate them. I did explain that the Royals normally leave us alone to invite any old headline-grabbing celebrities like himself, Sir Bruce and Lady Forsyth, Sir Rolf Harris and his charming wife Alwyn, Mr and Mrs Roman Abramovich and other friends of Wimbledon from Kazakhstan and the UAE and places like that. Not forgetting our Atlantic friends, such as a Mr Will I. Am, funny name but there you go. No space for any of them any more.’
However, it’s not all bad news for Wimbledon’s celebrity contingent, Fosdyke revealed. ‘As of next year, and especially in case Prince Harry marries another freeloading commoner, we’re barring the public from Henman Hill and converting it into a celebrity viewing arena featuring our second £35m sliding roof, this new Henman Hill Spa will incorporate a brand new wide angle 3D television screen. A Michelin star restaurant, fully equipped gymnasium and sauna, indoor heated swimming pool, complimentary hairdressing and waxing, roof garden with cigar-smoking annexe, champagne bar, underground car-park, dedicated heliport and much else.
‘We look forward to welcoming everyone back in 2013.’