As the Wimbledon tournament kicks off for another year, there is only one place to be seated in order to catch all the best action on Centre Court – the Royal Box.
Today, as eight-time Wimbledon men’s champion Roger Federer arrived at the tournament after announcing his retirement from the sport last year, the court was upstanding in applause to welcome him back to the Lawn and Tennis Club.
The ace, 41, cut a sharp figure in a white suit jacket as he humbly thanked fans and loved ones for the welcome, before taking his place in between his wife of 14 years, Mirka, with whom he shares four children, and the Princess of Wales.
But the trio were just a few of the many famous faces in the star-studded line-up in today’s Royal Box, with special guests ranging from entrepreneurs, classical singers, royals, and even an ex-prime minister.
Here, FEMAIL takes a look at the very exclusive guests with the best seats in the house on the second day of Wimbledon 2023.
As Wimbledon 2023 is well and truly underway at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in SW19, FEMAIL reveals the VERY exclusive line-up in the royal box. 1. Thomas Kingston. 2. Natalie Rushdie 3. Zafar Rushdie 4. Lady Gabriella Windsor 5. Prince Michael of Kent 6. Gus Christie 7. Danielle De Niese 8. Penny Madden. 9. Princess of Wales 10. Geordie Greig 11. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe 12. Roger Federer 13. Robbie Federer 14. Mirka Federer 15. Lynette Federer 16. Sam Galsworthy 17. Fairfax Hall 18. Samantha Cameron 19. Sir Peter Ratcliffe 20. David Cameron 21. Lady Ratcliffe
The Princess of Wales caught up with her old friend, tennis legend Roger Federer and his wife Mirka on Centre Court
1. Thomas Kingston
Thomas Kingston is a financier who is married to Lady Gabriella Windsor. Prior to this relationship, he dated Pippa Middleton.
After marrying into the royal family in 2019, he wasted no time getting used to his new lifestyle and appeared that year on the Buckingham Palace balcony for Trooping the Colour.
Now working in the world of finance, Mr Kingston’s previous career as a diplomat took him to Baghdad for three years, where he worked as a project officer for the Iraqi Institute of Peace.
Thomas Kingston is a financier who is married to Lady Gabriella Windsor. Prior to this relationship, he dated Pippa Middleton
2. Natalie Rushdie
Natalie Rushdie is a classically-trained jazz singer who has sung at the Royal Albert Hall and Wembley Stadium.
She was close friends with Dame Deborah James before the campaigner died of bowel cancer last year, and was asked to perform a cover of Tell Me It’s Not True at her funeral.
She recently released a charity single for the late campaigner’s charity.
3. Zafar Rushdie
Zafar Rushdie, the husband of singer Natalie, is also the son of award-winning novelist Salman Rushdie.
Following a shocking attack on his father last year while he was giving a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in the US state of New York, Zafar kept concerned fans updated on his condition.
A few days after the attack, he released a statement which read: ‘Though his life changing injuries are severe, his usual feisty & defiant sense of humour remains intact.’
Natalie Rushdie is a classically-trained jazz singer who has sung at the Royal Albert Hall and Wembley Stadium. Zafar Rushdie, the husband of singer Natalie, is also the son of award-winning novelist Salman Rushdie
4. Lady Gabriella Windsor
Lady Gabriella Marina Alexandra Ophelia Kingston (née Windsor) is the daughter of Prince and Princess Michael of Kent, making her the second cousin of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Her older brother is Frederick Windsor, who is married to Sophie Winkleman (the sister of presenter Claudia).
Lady Gabriella grew up in a flat in Kensington Palace with their parents – and their living costs were covered by the late Queen Elizabeth until 2008, when MPs called on Prince and Princess Michael of Kent to pay the full market rate of £120,000.
5. Prince Michael of Kent
Prince Michael of Kent is the cousin of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and is currently 52nd in the line of succession to the throne.
Still a working royal, Prince Michael has been present at many key events for the British Royal Family since King Charles became the monarch.
Last month, he and Princess Michael appeared on the Buckingham Palace balcony for Trooping the Colour, despite the King opting to have fewer family members present for the occasion.
He also attends Christmas celebrations on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk.
Lady Gabriella and Prince Michael were animated as they watched the action unfold on Centre Court today
6 & 7. Danielle De Niese and Gus Christie
Danielle De Niese is an Australian-American soprano opera singer. She is the second wife of Gus Christie, and has performed several times at Glyndebourne Opera House.
Gus Christie is the Chairman of the Glyndebourne Music Festival and is the grandson of the festival’s founder, John Christie.
He has been married to opera singer Danielle De Niese since 2009.
Danielle De Niese is an Australian-American soprano opera singer. She is the second wife of Gus Christie (pictured left)
8. Penny Madden
Penny Madden KC is a British lawyer and a co-partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher.
She was part of the team working on the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, to bring her back to the UK when she was imprisoned for six years in Tehran, Iran.
After it was announced that the British-Iranian mother-of-one would be released from jail and allowed to return to the UK, Madden appeared on BBC Newsnight speaking of her ‘jubilation’ and ‘relief’ at the news.
9. Princess of Wales
The Princess of Wales, 41, is patron of the All England Lawn Tennis Club and attends Wimbledon every year.
She recently starred in a glitzy film to promote this year’s Wimbledon tournament where she went head-to-head in a rally with the eight-time men’s champion, Roger Federer.
10. Geordie Greig
Geordie Greig is the editor of the Independent and former editor of the Daily Mail and Mail of Sunday.
11. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe
Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe is a British-Iranian citizen who was imprisoned in Tehran in 2016 as she tried to fly back to the UK with her daughter, Gabriella.
The mother-of-one, who had been visiting family in the country, was charged with trying to overthrow the regime – which she has always denied.
For the following six years a team of lawyers and her husband, Richard, who is based in London, campaigned for her release. She finally returned to the UK in 2022.
Nazanin was beaming as she spoke to the Princess on Centre Court, before apparently crossing her fingers
12. Roger Federer
Swiss-born Roger Federer is an eight-time men’s Wimbledon champion and one of the most successful male tennis players in the history of the game.
During his 24-year career, the 41-year-old won 20 grand slam singles titles and a swathe of fans around the world.
After announcing his retirement last year, the tennis legend returned to centre court today as a spectator and was welcomed with a rousing reception.
13. Robbie Federer
Robbie Federer is the father of tennis legend Roger, and has been accompanying his son at appearances where he has been honoured this year.
The father-of-two has previously described his son as ‘living’ for the sport, and last year described his son’s exit from tennis as ‘perfect’.
After emotional scenes in which Federer and his close friend and tennis rival, Rafa Nadal, cried at the Laver Cup last year, he said: ‘It was very emotional for everyone, not just for Rogi, but also for the players.’
14. Mirka Federer
Mirka Federer, a former professional tennis player herself, is Roger’s wife and the mother of his four children.
The couple met when they were playing at the 2000 Summer Olympics, but sadly Mirka had to retire from the sport two years later due to a persistent foot injury.
The couple married in 11 April 2009, and since Mirka stepped away from tennis, she has found it difficult to stay away from the court, and was often present in the stands watching her husband in action.
Roger’s wife Mirka glanced at Kate as she took her seat in the Royal Box alongside her (pictured)
15. Lynette Federer
South African-born Lynette Federer moved to Switzerland in 1970 where she worked for a chemical company before meeting Robbie, who became her husband.
The couple went on to have two children, Roger and Diana. When their son was eight years old, Lynette and Robbie bought him his first tennis racquet – and the rest is history!
Robert and Lynette Federer, parents of Roger Federer, sit in the royal box on centre court ahead of a presentation to honour the eight-time Wimbledon champion
16 & 17. Sam Galsworthy & Fairfax Hall
These two childhood friends remained close enough to become business partners in adulthood as they co-founded Sipsmith Gin.
The pair sold their first bottles of the spirit in a single Waitrose store in 2010 before it grew to become one of the nation’s favourite brands.
18. Samantha Cameron
Samantha Cameron, known to many by her nickname ‘Sam-Cam’, is a fashion designer who owns luxury brand Cefinn.
She has a background in business and was the creative director of Smythson of Bond Street until 2010, when her husband, David Cameron, led his Conservative Party to victory in the general election and the couple moved into No 10 Downing Street.
19 & 21. Sir Peter Ratcliffe & Lady Ratcliffe
Sir Peter Ratcliffe is a Lancashire-born, Cambridge-educated physician who has worked at Oxford University and the Francis Crick Institute in London.
In 2019, he won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research into how cells adapt to availability of oxygen. Lady Ratcliffe is his wife.
20. David Cameron
David Cameron is a Conservative former British prime minister who governed the country from 2010-2016.
Following his first general election win, he formed a coalition government between the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats, before the Tories won a general election outright in 2015.
However the following year, he stepped down as prime minister following the UK’s decision to leave the EU in a referendum.
Samantha and David Cameron settled into their seats in the Royal Box to watch the first round match between Shelby Rogers of the US and Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina