The sporting world has been paying its tributes to Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-serving monarch. She died on Thursday 8 September at Balmoral aged 96, 70 years after she came to the throne.
The Queen has always taken a keen interest in riding and as recently as this summer, at the age of 96, she was able to return onto horseback, taking a trip around Windsor. Lady Louise, one of Queen Elizabeth’s grandchildren, wore a necklace with a horse shaped pendant at a vigil in Westminster Palace on Saturday in a clear nod to their shared love of horses. The Queen herself owned horses which were trained by some of the top in the sport such as Michael Stoute, John Gosden and Michael Bell.
The British Horseracing Authority said in a statement: “All of British Racing is in mourning today following the passing of Her Majesty The Queen. Her Majesty has been one of the greatest and most influential supporters in the history of horse racing. Her passion for racing and the racehorse shone brightly throughout her life, not only through her close involvement in breeding and racing horses, but in her roles as a patron of The Jockey Club and Thoroughbred Breeders Association, and as the figurehead of Royal Ascot.”
Over the years at Royal Ascot, The Queen has visited the winners’ enclosure on 24 distinctive occasions from the 1950s right up to her last victory in 2020 indicating just how involved the Queen was in horseracing and how much it meant to her throughout her tenure on the throne.
The BHA stated that “British racing will not go ahead on Monday 19 September – the date of the funeral of Her Late Majesty The Queen. This will give everyone involved in British racing the opportunity to mourn Her Late Majesty’s passing and offer thanks for her contribution to our sport and the nation.”
After the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thurday 8 September, football throughout the whole of Britain was called off that weekend. Therefore, this weekend was the first time that clubs could pay their respects to the late monarch on pitch and with fans in the stands.
Teams and match officials all wore black armbands, while at all five Premier League matches this weekend, wreaths were laid inside the centre circle. Players, staff and supporters observed a minute’s silence and sang the national anthem in memory of The Queen.
League Two club, Mansfield Town, released 96 doves as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, one dove for every year of her life.
Scottish Premiership clubs also paused to pay respect to the Queen, with a minute’s silence and applause at grounds across the country as well as players and match officials wearing black armbands.
The England and Wales Cricket Board Chair Richard Thompson said: “I’m sure I speak for everyone in the game when I say how truly sad I am to hear of the Queen’s passing. Her Majesty has been such a great supporter of the game and was always so vocal of her and her late husband’s enjoyment around the sport. Her dedication to her country will never be forgotten. For her service and her selflessness over her extraordinary reign, we owe her a debt that can never be repaid.”
Day two of England men’s Test match against South Africa was called off after the death of the Queen. Tributes were paid at The Oval on day three from both sides by observing a minute’s silence. God Save The King was also played followed by sustained applause from the crowd in South London. England’s women also observed similar tributes to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II before their T20 match against India on 10 September.
Seven-time British Formula 1 world champion Sir Lewis Hamilton posted his own tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on Instagram.
Lewis Hamilton’s tribute – [Instagram]
Tributes were paid to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Great North Run which took place on 11 September. The Great North Run is a 13.1 mile run from Newcastle to South Shields and it is the second largest half marathon in the world. A minute’s silence was observed before the race followed by a rendition of God Save the King, which was greeted by spontaneous applause before Commonwealth 10,000m champion Eilish McColgan sent the elite men and the rest of the field on their way.
Olympic gold medallist Sir Mo Farah wrote on twitter: “My condolences to the Royal Family at this very sad time. The Queen was loved all over the world and meant so much to so many. Meeting her was one of the greatest honours of my life.”
In the last 70 years, throughout Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, so much has happened in the sporting world. The Queen’s death marks the end of an era for British sport as well as the birth of a new one. May the next 70 years hopefully be as successful as the last.