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Queen Elizabeth II and the beautiful game: Arsenal, West Ham & love for Lionesses

6:44 PM WAT 08/09/2022
Queen Elizabeth II has died aged 96, bringing a 70-year reign to an end in which she touched all aspects of UK culture, including football.

The Queen was on hand at some of the biggest moments in UK football history.

From presenting England's only ever World Cup to Sir Bobby Moore in 1966, to honouring several generations of the game's most influential figures, to her regular presence at the FA Cup final.

There are even rumours that the monarch held a soft spot for one - or perhaps even two - Premier League teams during her life.

Below, GOAL takes a look back at Elizabeth and the Beautiful Game.

  • Queen Elizabeth World Cup 1966

    Presenting the 1966 World Cup

    Thirteen years after her coronation, Queen Elizabeth had the pleasure of presenting the Jules Rimet Trophy to England's victorious 1966 World Cup winning side.

    Reflecting on the occasion in 2020 ahead of the European Championship final, she wrote: "Fifty-five 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 Championships, and send my good wishes for tomorrow with the hope that history will record not only your success but also the spirit, commitment and pride with which you have conducted yourselves."

  • Queen Elizabeth II

    West Ham supporter?

    Unlike other Royals, Elizabeth never publicly revealed which football team she supports.

    However, that did not stop rumours circulating that she was a West Ham fan. As reported by The Mirror back in 2009, the monarch supposedly unveiled her secret love for the Hammers when a member of her household told her that he was a Millwall supporter.

    Previously, it had also been suggested that the Queen was an Arsenal fan.

  • Beckham Queen Elizabeth

    Honouring football players

    One of Elizabeth's most important cultural roles was recognising the contributions of various footballing figures in the New Year's Honours and Queen's Birthday Honours.

    Sir Stanley Matthews was the first player to receive a knighthood, and he was followed by major football figures such as Alf Ramsey, Alex Ferguson and Bobby Robson in later years.

    Plenty of footballers have received OBEs, MBEs and CBEs too, such as Roy Hodgson, David Beckham and, most recently, Gareth Bale.

  • Queen Arsenal

    Meeting Arsenal after the Emirates Stadium opened

    Elizabeth had been slated to open Arsenal's new ground, the Emirates Stadium, in 2007, only for a bad back to prevent her from doing so.

    To make amends, the monarch invited the first-team squad to Buckingham Palace. Arsene Wenger's side were treated to a tour of the State Apartments and then stuck around for afternoon tea.

    After the event, Thierry Henry said: "It went really nicely. I have no words to describe the experience the Queen has given us."

  • Queen Elizabeth 1959 FA Cup final

    Presenting the FA Cup

    The monarch was often seen at the FA Cup final during the early years of her reign. She had the important job, just like in 1966, of presenting the trophy to the victorious captain at Wembley.

    She would also be there to offer some words of consolation to the team that was defeated at the final hurdle.

    Although she appeared less frequently at the showpiece event in the later years of her reign, many footballers reflect that meeting Queen Elizabeth was one of the highlights of their careers.

  • England Euro 2022 trophy

    Toasting the Lionesses

    When the Lionesses ended almost 60 years of hurt by winning Euro 2022, Queen Elizabeth released a touching tribute to the team.

    "My warmest congratulations, and those of my family, go to you all on winning the European Women’s Football Championships," she wrote.

    "It is a significant achievement for the entire team, including your support staff. The Championships and your performance in them have rightly won praise.

    "However, your success goes far beyond the trophy you have so deservedly earned. You have all set an example that will be an inspiration for girls and women today, and for future generations.

    "It is my hope that you will be as proud of the impact you have had on your sport as you are of the result today."