Home Sports EXCLUSIVE- Arsène Wenger on Elizabeth II: “The memory of a very kind...

EXCLUSIVE- Arsène Wenger on Elizabeth II: “The memory of a very kind woman”


Two days after the death of Queen Elizabeth II of England, tributes from around the world continue to rain. In the world of sport, very few people have had the opportunity to meet the monarch in their lifetime. Arsene Wenger, historic French coach of the London team Arsenal, is one of those people. Exclusively for Europe 1, he remembers his meeting with the queen at the microphone of Jacques Vendroux, an interview to be found in Europe 1 Sport this evening with Lionel Rosso.


Very rare in the media, the 72-year-old French coach granted an exceptional interview to Europe 1, at the microphone of Jacques Vendroux. Manager of the Arsenal team from 1996 to 2018, Arsène Wenger recounts with emotion his meeting with Queen Elizabeth II, which occurred in 2007. The queen had at the time promised to go to the inauguration of the new stadium of Arsenal, Emirates Stadium. Unable to go there, she then invited the entire London team to come and dine at Buckingham Palace a few months later.

What memory do you have?

I remember a very kind lady. Obviously, when you’re invited like that, you exchange a lot of politeness and conventionality, but at the same time she released a form of bonhomie, interest and kindness. When I arrived in England, I had a preconceived idea of ​​the French in relation to royalty. But even people who don’t like royalty in England liked the Queen. And then she said herself that she supported Arsenal. So for us, it was a great pride to represent the Queen of England.

Were you able to talk a bit with her?

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Yes of course. I was received as a resident too, so it was a magical evening and we realized a little of the power of the English kingdom during these evenings. Exceptional.

How did your players react?

They too were very proud, very happy to be there and to be received by the queen. At receptions like this, the queen’s duty was to have a word with everyone. So everyone went home with a souvenir of the queen.

And she said what to you, for example?

We mainly talked about dinner because we were received in Windsor. Dinner was obviously excellent. And out of curiosity, I asked where the chef was from, she told me he was French. So we were represented even in Windsor.

After the Queen’s disappearance, all your memories come back…

Yes, it is sad. Because when I arrived in 1996, there were difficult times at the time with in 1997 Lady Diana who died in Paris. But she still knew how to turn the population around. And then I think that the last 22 years have been one-sided for her, that is to say that everyone was in awe of the queen. And then she had world authority, it shows with what is happening today. She was serving her country. I think somewhere she was willing to sacrifice everything for it.

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He is an extraordinary character who will be historic for eternity

Already by the length of the reign and she still repaired trucks during the Second World War. So she was committed to her country from the beginning to the end of her life. And the fact that she became queen was an accident. She had to dive into it and never come out again, with the length of an absolutely incredible reign. From the outside, it looks like there is zero fault.

Speaker 1: She presented the World Cup to England in 1966, to Bobby Moore but she also attended Andy Murray’s matches at Wimbledon. Somehow she loved sports

She was very fond of sports. She was very fond of horses as she was very fond of animals and especially dogs. But she was an outside woman. She loved nature.

She reportedly said: “I would have dreamed of being a great horse riding champion.” Do you believe it?

Yes, I want to believe it, because she rode horses until very late, even recently. When you’re a little older, it’s quite difficult so she must have really had a real passion for horses.

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