Asked to don their number ones and head to the Olympic Village, New Zealand athletes Alexis Pritchard (boxing), Richie Patterson (weightlifting) and flag bearer Nick Willis had a surprise audience with the Queen today.
The team was advised of the visit only hours before the arrival HRH Queen Elizabeth who was joined in the athletes’ main dining hall by Prince Philip and Princess Anne. She charmed the dozens of athletes from ten Commonwealth nations invited to the meeting.
“She was just wonderful,” said Dave Currie, Chef de Mission of the New Zealand team. “She’d done her homework and knew the athletes. She congratulated Nick on being named flag bearer.
“Impressively, she’d only returned to the palace at 2am following the Opening Ceremony and had that morning already been to watch the swimming competition and to meet Team GB. That’s not bad for someone who is 86 years old.
“Princess Anne, an Olympian herself, was much more casual and even helped herself to a tray of food in the athletes dining hall.”
Currie said the fact the team had dressed to impress made an impact on the Queen. “We showed respect for Her Majesty and dressed accordingly in our formal uniform. She certainly spent more time with the New Zealand athletes than the others.”
The visit came as New Zealand competition kicked off in London. Day two looks bright with more action at Rowing, Equestrian Eventing, Football and Swimming with new athletes taking to the field of play tomorrow in Sailing, Hockey, Women’s Road Race, Canoe Slalom and Tennis.