Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, said she feared she was “too old” to play tennis as she attended Wimbledon on Thursday.
When asked if she played the sport by former World No. 1 professional tennis star John McEnroe, the wife of Prince Charles, 65, replied, “Oh, very badly…I would love to start again but maybe I”m too old.”
“Never too old, never too old!” the three-times Wimbledon champion reassured her.
PHOTO FOR GALLERY
The Duchess of Cornwall”s revelation was unintentionally broadcast to millions of viewers watching BBC2″s live coverage when it should not have been.
Camilla had left her microphone switched on, and according to royal protocol that prohibits the media from recording such meetings with the royal family, her conversation should not have been taped or broadcast.
The stunt was pulled off by John and his fellow sportsmen, Tim Henman and former Number 1 British player Virginia Wade, who had reportedly sneaked into the “meet and greet” area where Camilla was being introduced to staff working at the Championships.
The trio stood at the end of the line of dignitaries waiting to meet the Duchess and when Camilla reached them she turned to walk off but Virginia stepped in to introduce herself.
“Good to see you, it is so wonderful to see you,” said Virginia. “Thank you for coming.”
“I have got my sister here today,” said Camilla. “We used to come to watch you year after year. And if we can”t see you, we watch you on the telly.”
Camilla then took her seat in the royal box with her sister Annabel Elliot, at which point the broadcasted private conversation caused a frenzy on Twitter.
“This is ace (no pun intended), watching awkward small talk between BBC tennis commentators and Camilla, proper TV this #wimbledon,” tweeted one amused viewer.
“Protocol… Mikes should be off at Wimbledon for these conversations,” another posted.
Tim”s greeting to Camilla baffled others, with one viewer tweeting, “Did Henman really just say to Camilla “Y”all right your highness””
The tennis player later said he was unaware the comments were broadcast live.
“I used to get blamed for the rain…” he said. “I didn”t know (the conversations were broadcast)”.
A Clarence House spokesperson later said Camilla was aware that the BBC had been broadcasting live on the balcony during the meet and greet.