Wearing black armbands, cricketers from England and South Africa held a minute’s silence before a bell was rung once by a high-ranking member of the armed forces in the Oval.
To the west of London, golfers from all over the world stopped their rounds and other professionals, officials and caddies gathered on the green in front of the first tee at Wentworth to maintain a two-minute period of silence, also impeccably observed.
There were moving and respectful tributes to Queen Elizabeth II on Saturday as sports resumed in Britain following a nationwide walkout on Friday as a mark of respect for the more than 70-year-old monarch who died aged 96 on Thursday. .
In the United States, a horse bred by the Queen won a race at Pimlico in Baltimore.
Professional and grassroots football – including the Premier League – has decided to cancel all matches this weekend to give attendees an opportunity to mourn the Queen’s death.
International cricket and golf returned, however, as did English domestic rugby, based on government guidance which stated that there was no obligation for sporting organizations to cancel or reschedule events during the country’s period of mourning.
The 10 minutes before the start of the game in the third and decisive test of cricket between England and South Africa were dedicated to paying tribute to the Queen.
Servicemen entered the playing field at the Oval in south London to form an honor guard, through which teams walked and lined up on either side of the wicket.
After a minute of silence and the ringing of a bell, the anthems of South Africa and England were sung by English soprano Laura Wright. After seven decades of the English anthem “God Save the Queen”, it was now an emotionally charged version of “God Save the King” rippling across the floor. Hours before Saturday, King Charles III was officially announced as Britain’s monarch in a ceremony, having automatically become king following the death of his mother.
There was a standing ovation as Wright left the field and the players warmed up before the start of the Day 3 Test game.
The BMW PGA Championship, the main event of the European tour, was halted near the end of the first round on Thursday after the Queen’s death was announced – there were still 30 players on the course – and there was no game on Friday.
Play resumed at 6:40am local time on Saturday, with the tournament reduced to 54 holes.
King Charles III’s proclamation was shown on television screens in Championship Village after the two-minute period of silence at 9:50 am.
European tour chief executive Keith Pelley said he spoke to officials at the England and Wales Cricket Board on Friday. He said they agreed that “gathering people together at this particular time, having both the honor and respect of the day of cancellation on Friday, was the right decision.”
“I’ve heard from so many players who want to honor Her Majesty,” Pelley said, “and I felt playing was the right way to do it.”
English Premier League rugby matches scheduled for Friday have been postponed but were taking place on Saturday and Sunday.
Football’s decision to cancel the games proved to be divisive, with some feeling that the game – and its many fans – missed out on a chance to honor the queen in the same way other sports do.
“I know it’s just one game and some things are much bigger,” tweeted former Premier League player Peter Crouch, “but imagine all our games happened this weekend. Black armbands, observed silences, national anthem, royal band playing etc for the millions around the world watching?
“Isn’t that a better farewell?”
Premier League, English Football League and Women’s Super League matches have been cancelled, along with all matches at all levels in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The women’s middleweight world title fight between Savannah Marshall and Claressa Shields, scheduled for the O2 Arena in London on Saturday, has also been canceled by the British Boxing Board of Control.
Horse racing – the Queen’s favorite sport – will resume on Sunday when the St. Leger takes place in Doncaster.
The sport said on Saturday it would cancel all events on September 19, the day of the queen’s funeral.
A queen-bred horse won at Pimlico, moving from sixth place to earn a half-length victory at Baltimore, Maryland. West Newton, a 6-year-old gelding, ran 1 1/8 miles on the lawn in 1:52.12 in the $36,000 race. The gelding was ridden by Forest Boyce and trained by Richard Hendriks.
West Newton is off the Queen’s Prize mare, also bred by the late monarch. West Newton paid $16.20 to win on a $2 bet. The gelding started his career in England.
The government had advised British sporting organizations to “consider canceling or postponing events or closing venues on the day of the State Funeral”.
There are no Premier League games that day, with matches taking place on the previous three days.
AP Racing writer Beth Harris contributed to this report.
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