Did the Queen Mother support Canaries?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007
11:43 AM

The Queen may have admitted supporting Arsenal - but fresh evidence emerged today The Queen Mother had a soft spot for Norwich City. Her Majesty, 81, amazed Arsenal players at a Buckingham Palace reception when she revealed she supported the Gunners.

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The Queen may have admitted supporting Arsenal - but fresh evidence emerged today The Queen Mother had a soft spot for Norwich City.

Her Majesty, 81, amazed Arsenal players at a Buckingham Palace reception when she revealed she supported the Gunners.

It has been reported the Queen Mother, who died in 2002 aged 101, also supported the London-based team managed by Frenchman Arsene Wenger.

However, the Evening News has obtained a telegram sent from Buckingham Palace way back in 1972 which suggests The Queen Mother also kept a close eye on how the Canaries were doing.

In 1972, after Norwich City had won promotion to the then First Division, she sent a telegram to City Hall for Don Pratt, the Lord Mayor of Norwich.

It read: “I am delighted that Norwich have today become champions of the Second Division. Please convey my warmest congratulations to their manager and to all members of the team and my best wishes for next season in the First Division.”

Her soft spot for Norwich may be linked to the time she spent at Sandringham, but it could also date back to a visit to the city when she was Queen in 1938.

She attended the opening of City Hall with her husband George VI before the King headed down to Carrow Road to catch some of the Division Two match between Norwich City and Millwall.

When the King arrived the crowd of 21,500 gave him an enthusiastic welcome by singing the national anthem accompanied by the Drayton British Legion Band.

The crowd also burst into For He's A Jolly Good Fellow when he was shaking hands with Norwich and Millwall players and officials.

However, he only stayed for about 15 minutes, in which time neither City nor Millwall found the net, despite Millwall going on to win 2-0.

While The King took in the Carrow Road atmosphere, his wife opened a new maternity wing at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, becoming so engrossed in the work of the unit she was late joining her husband for a later engagement at Norwich Lads Club.

Prior to her death, the Queen Mother visited Norfolk several times for public engagements.

In 1946 she joined a congregation of more than 3,000 for a Thanksgiving for Victory Concert at Norwich Cathedral - the new cloisters of which she had officially opened in 1938.

Then in 1951, after an informal visit to the newly restored Assembly House she opened the new east wing of the Training College at Keswick Hall.

In 1988, she made a flying visit to a windswept Norwich to open the airport's new £5 million terminal, holding on tightly to her hat to prevent it from joining the aeroplanes in the sky.

Her last visit was in the summer of 2001 for the annual Sandringham flower show.

Commenting on today's evidence, Roy Blower, chairman of the Norwich City Independent Supporters Association, said: “I am sure, given their links to Norfolk, the Royal Family do have a soft spot for Norwich. I can imagine the Queen shaking a Canary rattle when she stays at Sandringham,

“If I am re-elected in May I will become Lord Mayor and I look forward to the Queen sending me a telegram when Norwich are promoted next year!”

If the Queen Mother did indeed have a soft spot for the Canaries, however, she failed to pass it on to her daughter or grandsons. Prince William is an Aston Villa supporter while Prince Harry prefers rugby.

Other celebrity Norwich City fans

Stephen Fry - When the comedian/writer had five points slapped on his licence for speeding in 2002, the star of Kingdom, who has a home in King's Lynn, thanked the judge for not banning him because it meant he could still drive to watch Norwich City matches.

Prince Andrew - Also said to be a big Norwich City fan.

Hugh Jackman - the Australian star who plays mutant Wolverine X-Men films told a national newspaper he follows Norwich City because his mother is from Norfolk.

Myleene Klass - The Gorleston pop singer caused Radio Norfolk's Roy Waller a few blushes when she asked to join him in the commentary box for a match against Watford in 2003.

Roy suggested the former Hear'Say star wore some jeans because she would have to clamber over a wall to get into the commentary position.

But Myleene turned up in a short black micro skirt and high heeled black length boots and a blanket had to be positioned so she could get into the box and keep her modesty intact.

Sir David Frost - The broadcaster has supported Norwich City since he grew up in Beccles. But like The Queen Mother, he also supports Arsenal.

Sophie Ellis-Bextor - The pop star daughter of Blue Peter's Janet Ellis once admitted in a music magazine that she owned a pair of Norwich City coloured knickers - because her boyfriend was a Canaries fan.

Delia Smith - The cookery queen went from fan to majority shareholder, with her husband Michael Wynn-Jones passing on his love of all things yellow and green to his wife.

Jake Humphrey - The former Hewett School pupil, from Stoke Holy Cross recently started presenting the BBC's Saturday afternoon Football Focus after a stint as a presenter on CBBC.

Simon Thomas - Blue Peter presenter who grew up near King's Lynn. When he was first introduced to viewers on the programme a big picture of the Norwich City squad was flashed up alongside him.

t Do you have a quirky story for the Evening News? Telephone reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772439 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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