At Monday’s opening day of play on Wimbledon’s Centre Court in London, the announcer told the crowd of spectators there were some special guests in attendance.
People who 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 sit in the royal box.
But the announcer only made it partially through the list before the crowd reacted.
“Today [the special guests] include leaders who have developed the anti-COVID vaccines,” said the announcer, as the camera zoomed in on Dame Sarah Gilbert, a professor of vaccinology at the University of Oxford who led the team that developed the AstraZeneca vaccine.
For her efforts, Gilbert received a damehood earlier this month when she was named on the Queen’s birthday honors list.
When the Wimbledon crowd realized who was in attendance, they burst into wild applause that soon became a standing ovation.
As the cheering continued for more than a minute, Gilbert looked overwhelmed.
People online were extremely moved by a viral video of the standing ovation.
The Twitter account for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, also 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.
Audience members are not required to wear masks when seated but are required to present a negative COVID test or show proof of vaccination status.