Victories With A Majestic Hue

Games That Were Fit To Be Played Before Royalty

The Duke meets the Wolves, Wembley 1949. And what a ‘colourising’ job has been done here by the expert we are more than pleased to acknowledge.

It’s a sad fact related to the passage of time that only one FA Cup winner from Wolves is still alive.

Yet, as we continue to doff our cap to Ron Flowers for his part at Wembley that day and so much more besides, the thoughts of the nation are concentrated on one of the dignitaries introduced to the Wolves and Leicester teams at the showpiece a full 11 years earlier.

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh was 27 and relatively newly married when walking down the two lines of players at Wembley 72 seasons ago.

Youtube shows him shaking the hands of Bill Shorthouse and Bert Williams before he sat back to watch a 3-1 Wolves win that brought the first silverware of the Stan Cullis era.

And that was presented to victorious Molineux skipper Billy Wright by Princess Elizabeth, whose father was to live and serve as King for almost another three years.

Also in the Royal Box that afternoon were the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the latter of whom presented the FA Cup to Bill Slater following Wolves’ emphatic victory over Blackburn in 1960. The Duke was among the group introduced to the teams before kick-off in 1949.

Mindful as we are that cricket and polo were more the Duke of Edinburgh’s chosen sports, we can point out that he didn’t accompany his wife at Molineux when she opened the redeveloped stadium at Sir Jack Hayward’s request in 1994 or when she made this visit Wolves Heroes » Blog Archive » A Royal Occasion, Fifty Years On that we wrote about nine years ago.

It has been well reported that games this weekend will not clash with the Duke’s funeral, the emotional farewell to Princess Diana having taken place on a Saturday in September, 1997 when all football matches were moved to other slots.

The Queen at Molineux almost 60 years ago.

There was no disruption to the programme when The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were married as it was on a Thursday (November 20, 1947) in between 3-1 Wolves victories over Portsmouth (H) and Preston (A) in the First Division.

Her father, King George VI, died on a Wednesday (February 6, 1952) but news of her mother’s death broke on Easter Saturday in 2002 on the day of Wolves’ 3-2 win at Burnley under Dave Jones.

On the subject of state funerals, the Sporting Star was well placed to reflect how the death of Winston Churchill on January 24, 1965 impacted on the sport. Wolves and Rotherham players were photographed solemnly bowing their heads when he was laid to rest on the morning of their meeting in the FA Cup the following Saturday.

Thomas Publications