The idea of Prince Edward stopping into a country club in suburban Northern Virginia might seem a little peculiar. But after you do some digging, it actually makes sense that the Earl of Wessex will be at the Westwood Country Club in Vienna today and tomorrow.
The missing link: court tennis, aka real tennis—an indoor predecessor to the modern version of “lawn tennis.” This weekend, Westwood is hosting an opening ceremony for its new court tennis facility. And it just so turns out that Prince Edward is a huge fan of the game. So huge, that he wanted to travel to Vienna to attend the club’s court opening.
This weekend, Prince Edward will participate in a variety of events including a ribbon-cutting ceremony, a junior court tennis clinic, and a black-tie gala. He will also take in a professional exhibition on Saturday before returning to England.
This isn’t the first time Prince Edward has come to the DC area for court tennis-related matters: In 2018, he went on a tour of every court tennis facility in the country—including a local stop that he wrote about on a blog.
The game, which Westwood’s general manager Bryan Stone says fits somewhere between squash and traditional tennis, doesn’t have a huge presence: There are only around 50 courts worldwide and less than a dozen in the U.S., says Stone (there’s another nearby in McLean). Players, who traditionally wear all-white, use a hand-sewn felt balled filled with crushed wine corks, and play with heaven wooden rackets.
But don’t get too excited, Royal Family fans: The event will be private, and non-members will not be allowed to attend.