KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
Founded in 1787, Marylebone Cricket Club is the most active and famous cricket club in the world and owner of Lord's Cricket Ground - the Home of Cricket.
© Copyright 2014
With such an aristocratic-sounding name, it seems appropriate for Lord’s to be patronised by Royalty – on, as well as off the field.
In 1895, His Highness the Maharajah Jam Sahib of Nawanagar, Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji, scored 77 and 150 on his debut for Sussex against MCC.
Described as a "conjuror" with the bat, "Ranji" was the first Indian cricketer to delight English crowds. He played two of his 15 Test matches for England at Lord’s, in 1899 and 1902.
In 1932, the Eighth Nawab of Pataudi, Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi, was selected for England’s infamous "Bodyline" tour to Australia after scoring a brilliant 165 for the Gentlemen v the Players at Lord’s. He also played Test cricket for India, whom he captained in his only Lord’s Test match, in 1946.
As the Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II is MCC’s Patron. She visits Lord’s occasionally to watch a session of Test cricket from the Committee Room.
Play on the first morning of the 2013 Ashes Test was delayed by 15 minutes while she met the England and Australia teams on the outfield.
England won that match and subsequently the Ashes – but as both countries’ Head of State, she could not have been disappointed with either outcome!
Until 1998, when MCC voted to admit women members, the Queen was the only woman permitted to watch cricket from the Pavilion.
As the UK’s ruling monarch, Queen Elizabeth II is the MCC’s Patron
The Queen's husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was a keen cricketer in his youth is one of only three MCC Presidents to have served two terms, in 1949/50 and 1974/75.
The Club celebrated his ninetieth birthday with a lunch in the Long Room, attended by representatives of his sporting charities, at which he was Guest of Honour.
His birthday gift was a maquette of a fielder by Antony Dufort, whose sculpture of a "Bowler" is displayed beside the Nursery Ground.
Prince Philip is also Patron and "Twelfth Man" of the Lord’s Taverners, the official charity for recreational cricket in the United Kingdom.
The Royal Family’s patronage of Lord’s is infused with a hint of scandal, however. Hanging in the Pavilion is a painting of "An Imaginary Cricket Match' at the ground, commissioned to mark the MCC’s Centenary in 1887.
While England bat and Australia field, the Prince and Princess of Wales (the future King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra) stroll around the outfield, while in the foreground, wearing a yellow dress and scarlet bonnet, is the Prince’s mistress, actress Lillie Langtry.
Evidently conscious that they are about to pass her, Lillie sits with her back to the royal couple. Perhaps unsurprisingly, several of her fellow-spectators do not appear to be watching the cricket…
Lord's Cricket Ground: 200 years