When Arsenal visited Queen Elizabeth II… and Eboue made her laugh

Theo Walcott shares ‘lovely memory’ of when Arsenal visited Queen Elizabeth II for afternoon tea in 2007… and Emmanuel Eboue made the monarch laugh by telling her ‘I want to look after your dogs!’

  • Former Arsenal players shared their memories of meeting the Queen in 2007 
  • The north London side were invited to Buckingham Palace to have afternoon tea 
  • The Queen was due to open the newly-constructed Emirates Stadium in 2006 
  • As a result, the team were invited into her private apartments for a meeting 
  • Arsenal’s clash in Zurich on Thursday saw a minute’s silence to pay respect
  • Full coverage: Click here to see all our coverage of the Queen’s passing

Former Arsenal stars have taken to social media to share their memories of a 2007 meeting with Her Majesty the Queen.

Her Majesty was due to cut the ribbon on the club’s newly-constructed Emirates Stadium after their move from Highbury in 2006, but was unable to attend, and instead invited the side to Buckingham Palace. 

Both Theo Walcott and Emmanuel Eboue were members of the Arsenal squad when they were invited to have afternoon tea with Her Majesty the Queen 15 years ago. 

The Queen invited the Arsenal squad to Buckingham Palace to have afternoon tea in 2007

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Thierry Henry guided Her Majesty through his team-mates who she greeted individually

The Southampton winger, now 33, retweeted a video of the Gunners’ royal meeting with the caption: ‘Lovely memory this…’

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And Ivory Coast right-back Eboue shared his memories of making Her Majesty laugh after telling her: ‘We went there & Thierry Henry said to me, “Please, Emmanuel, it’s the Queen’s house, don’t do anything”

But despite the warning from his captain, the notorious dressing room joker was unable to contain himself, and narrated a story that left both Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh laughing.  

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The Gunners were invited to the Royal Palace after the Queen was unable to attend the opening of the Emirates Stadium in 2006

‘”No problem,” I said, “Don’t worry”. So the Queen came in & went along shaking each player’s hand.

‘After she’d finished, I saw all her corgis so I said, “Ma’am, Ma’am”. She turned back & asked, “How are you?”. I said, “Ma’am, I am okay thank you, but please, I don’t want to be a footballer any more, I want to look after your dogs.”

‘[I said to the Queen] “I want to take them for walks, wash them, feed them. I want to be a dog carer”. The Queen, honestly, she was laughing. Prince Philip was laughing too. All the team were laughing!’

Arsene Wenger even suggested the grounds at Buckingham Palace were enough for 5-aside

Arsene Wenger even suggested the grounds at Buckingham Palace were enough for 5-aside

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A video was posted late on Thursday night from the Arsenal Presser Twitter account detailing the north London side’s visit to Buckingham Palace. 

The video shows the likes of Arsene Wenger and Henry leading the party at the Queen’s private residence, before the French legend introduced each player individually to the monarch to shake her hand. 

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The Gunners had travelled to Switzerland to face Zurich in their opening group game of this season’s Europa League campaign, and only learnt the news of the Queen’s passing at half-time.

As a result the resumption of the second half was delayed so that both sides could pay their respects with a minute’s silence in memory of Her Majesty.

Both Arsenal and FC Zurich observed a minute's silence at half-time to commemorate the Queen's death

Both Arsenal and FC Zurich observed a minute’s silence at half-time to commemorate the Queen’s death

Old Trafford also fell silent as players and fans paid their respects to the late monarch prior to Man United's Europa League opener

Old Trafford also fell silent as players and fans paid their respects to the late monarch prior to Man United’s Europa League opener



Manchester United’s Europa League clash with Real Sociedad at Old Trafford and West Ham’s game against FCSB in the Europa Conference League at the London Stadium went ahead on Thursday evening with pre-match tributes.

The Northern Ireland Football League announced that Friday night’s matches between Cliftonville and Glentoran and Larne and Dungannon have been postponed.

The English Football League also confirmed that Friday night’s Championship game between Burnley and Norwich and the League Two match between Tranmere and Stockport had been postponed, with a decision on Saturday’s fixtures yet to be made.


Friday’s play between England and South Africa men at The Oval, along with all scheduled matches in the Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy, will not take place.

Rugby Union

Northampton announced the postponement of their Premiership Rugby Cup clash against Saracens scheduled for Thursday evening.

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The Scottish Rugby Union has postponed all domestic competitive games this weekend as a mark of respect and the women’s summer Test international between Scotland and Spain on Sunday is also off.


Play was suspended for the day at the BMW PGA Championship and there will be no play on Friday.

Formula 1

Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix will go ahead as scheduled with a minute’s silence planned before practice on Friday and another expected before the race.

Horse racing

Racing at Southwell and Chelmsford on Thursday evening was abandoned. The British Horseracing Authority also announced the meetings scheduled for Friday – including the third day of the St Leger meeting at Doncaster – have also been cancelled.


The Great North Run, the world’s largest half-marathon, is set for Sunday. Organisers cancelled its 5k sister event on Friday, with a decision of the main race due on on Friday.


Friday’s Tour of Britain stage was promptly cancelled and later on Thursday evening the rest of the tour, which was set to finish on the Isle of Wight on Sunday, was called off entirely.

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