On Monday’s opening day at Wimbledon’s Center Court in London, the announcer told the crowd of spectators that there were some special guests.
People who have played critical roles in the UK’s response to the coronavirus pandemic – from transport workers to medical staffers with Britain’s National Health Service – had been invited to put in the royal box.
But the announcer only partially got through the list before the crowd reacted.
“Today [the special guests] include leaders who have developed anti-COVID vaccines, ”the reporter said as the camera zoomed Dame Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at Oxford University who led the team that developed the AstraZeneca vaccine.
For his efforts, Gilbert received one damehood earlier this month when she was nominated on the Queen’s birthday honors list.
When the Wimbledon crowd realized what the presence was, they burst into wild applause that soon became a standing ovation.
While the cheers continued for more than a minute, Gilbert seemed stunned.
People online have been extremely moved by a viral video of standing ovation.
The Twitter accounts of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, have retweeted the video and added their thanks.
This year’s Wimbledon is the first since 2019. Last year’s tournament was canceled due to the pandemic.
The members of the audience are no need to wear masks when it is taken, but are required to present a negative COVID test or show proof of vaccination status.