SIR CLIFF ALL SMILES AGAIN AT WIMBLEDON
SIR Cliff Richard served up the smiles at Wimbledon yesterday as he brushed aside two years of anguish with a triumphant return to his beloved SW19.
The veteran entertainer could barely contain his joy as he was reunited with old friends on the Centre Court at the All England Club.
It was Sir Cliff’s first public appearance since prosecutors finally dropped “vile allegations” of historic sex abuse made against him.
Sir Cliff, 75, showed his life is finally getting back on track after a harrowing public ordeal that had left him fearing ill health would takes its toll. One onlooker said: “Sir Cliff loves tennis and he feels very much at home at Wimbledon. He watched a lot of the action but also spent time catching up with old friends.”
Sir Cliff – as familiar at Wimbledon as strawberries and cream – was left devastated after he was wrongly accused of sex abuse in 2014. As the tortuous South Yorkshire Police investigation dragged on the legendary singer decided not to come to the famous championships last summer, the first he had missed in 20 years.
Friends told how he feared he might distract from the tournament and said he would instead watch the event on television at his holiday home in Portugal.
But after finally being told he would not be prosecuted earlier this month he told how he was looking forward to returning to the championships.
Sir Cliff – who famously sang to the Centre Court crowd during a rain break in 1996 – wasted no time, arriving for the first match on the opening day of the championship.
He saw defending champion Novak Djokovic defeat Britain’s James Ward in straight sets before staying on to watch women’s No.2 Garbine Muguruza in action.
After early showers yesterday the sun came out on Centre Court where Pippa Middleton was also among the famous faces in the crowd as she watched the action from behind sunglasses.
Pippa, 32, was wearing a cream floral printed dress with a ruffle shoulder detail and dipped hem. The outfit highlighted her trim figure as she sat with her brother James, 29, in the Royal Box.
A keen tennis fan, the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister is a regular at the championships.
Also present in the exclusive enclosure was motor-racing legend Sir Jackie Stewart and his wife.
Actress Rebel Wilson and Happy Valley star James Norton also attended yesterday.