Why Kids Aren't Usually Allowed To Sit In The Royal Box At Wimbledon

You can tell Wimbledon is in full swing when the royals and other high-profile guests flock to the courts just outside London's city center. The legendary tennis match brings out spectators from all over the world, but not of all ages, because kids aren't enthusiastically welcomed — especially in the royal box.

So when Prince George and Princess Charlotte (sans Prince Louis, who skipped Wimbledon) took their seats in the highly coveted area, onlookers were a bit surprised. The precedent stems back to 1999 when Katharine, the Duchess of Kent, attempted to invite family friends, two of whom happened to be children of, ahem, "commoners," to sit with her. At that time, John Curry, club chairman, refused the kids' entrance, later stating to The Guardian, "Because of demand for space in the royal box, we also ask that, apart from children of the royal family, children are not invited as they exclude other worthy people from attending, many of whom contribute to tennis."

So while the rule certainly makes an exception for Prince William's children, as they are royals, parents generally don't make a habit of bringing their young ones to the game as it would likely be frowned upon by fellow enthusiasts.

What do the rules actually say about kids at Wimbledon?

Dirty looks from other spectators aside, Wimbledon officially states that it "welcomes" children. However, some strict guidelines apply. Per the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club's Wimbledon entry rules, "Babes in arms and children under 5 years of age will not be allowed into Centre Court or No.1, No.2, or No.3 Courts, or Courts 12 and 18 (the Show Courts)." According to the entry rules, children over 5 need their own full-price ticket, and anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult to attend the Championships. In essence, children between the ages of 5 and 16 can gain entrance into all courts, provided they have paid for a ticket and have adult supervision.

But considering that the Show Courts are those used exclusively for Wimbledon games, the rules can still pose a problem occasionally. For example, highly decorated tennis player Andy Murray was surprised by his wife and four children at a recent match, but, according to The Daily Express, noted, "They are not allowed to watch. Well, they have pretty strict rules. There is an age limit. I would want to say they have to be over six. There is only one of them that could potentially do it," continuing, "Is it time for a campaign to change Wimbledon's age limit? Obviously, I mean they are allowed on the grounds but not on the courts."

That is, unless they're royalty.

The Royal Box is on a Show Court

The Royal Box is on a Show Court situated at the south end of Centre Court. So far, Prince William and Princess Kate have waited to bring their children until they're around 8 years old, so they're not breaking the kids 5 and under rule, but remember, the Royal Box doesn't allow non-royal kids. Period.

Furthermore, it isn't exclusively for royals only, but "the heads of government, people from the world of tennis, commercial partners, British armed forces, prominent media organizations, supporters of British tennis and other walks of life." says the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club at Wimbledon. And you must receive an official invitation from the chairman. Still, the royal family regularly takes up residence during highly anticipated tennis matches and occasionally brings their privileged children.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who made her Wimbledon debut in 2023, aren't the exception, either, as Prince William occupied a seat in the Royal Box in 1991 alongside his mother, Princess Diana. So, to ensure that a child outside of royalty — who may be less than interested in the match — doesn't take a seat from an enthusiastic fan, the higher-ups at Wimbledon allow some children to attend the games while excluding others.