Queen will not attend showpiece

The Queen is not expected to be at the opening ceremony and first game of this month’s World Cup

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrive at Scottish Borders town of Tweedbank on board of the train drawn by the steam locomotive 'Union of South Africa' Tweedbank, Scotland, on Wednesday. Photo:  EPA/ROBERT PERRY

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II arrive at Scottish Borders town of Tweedbank on board the train drawn by the steam locomotive ‘Union of South Africa’ Tweedbank, Scotland, on Wednesday. Photo: EPA/ROBERT PERRY

She was guest of honour at the opening ceremonies of the London 2012 Olympics and the 2014 Commonwealth Games, but the Queen – Britain’s longest reigning monarch – will not be attending the opening ceremony and first match of the Rugby World Cup.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry, will be at Twickenham for England’s game against Fiji a week on Friday, with an announcement expected on Thursday from Kensington Palace. But the Queen will not be cutting short her annual holiday in Balmoral for the start of the latest major sporting event hosted in Britain.

As patron of the Rugby Football Union, the Queen has an open invitation to attend any international at Twickenham and it is understood that a decision has yet to be taken whether she will be present for the World Cup final on Oct 31.

The Queen presented the William Webb Ellis trophy on the two previous occasions the World Cup was played in Britain, when England hosted it in 1991 and when Wales staged the event eight years later.

Prince Harry, as RFU vice‑patron, will represent his grandmother for the opening ceremony, along with the Duke and Duchess, and is likely to attend several games.

An England Rugby 2015 spokesman said on Wednesday: “The Queen and the Royal Household have been incredibly supportive of the Rugby World Cup and will show their support in a number of ways throughout the tournament.”

  • The Telegraph

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