Women’s sports world pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II met Billie Jean King during a visit to Wimbledon in 2010. (Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II died Thursday at 96 years old, and Billie Jean King and more women’s sports stars are paying tribute to the longest-reigning monarch in British history.

She ruled for 70 years after acquiring the throne in 1952. She was placed under medical supervision Thursday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, and Buckingham Palace announced her death later in the day.

Tennis legend King said she was “saddened” to learn the news.

“For 70 years, her leadership, impact, and influence on the United Kingdom and the entire global community has been immense. I met her in 2010 at Wimbledon, and it was a special moment for me,” she wrote. “She was the longest reigning British monarch in history, the only woman from the Royal Family to serve in the armed forces, and a respected leader around the world.

“She earned her place in history, and she will be missed.”

The top flight of women’s football in England also saw an outpouring of tributes.

“We are extremely saddened by the news that Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II has passed away,” the Women’s Super League wrote in a Twitter post. Many WSL clubs also offered condolences via social media on Elizabeth’s death, including Arsenal.

“Along with many of our supporters today, we will be taking time to mourn and reflect on Her Majesty’s incredible life and devoted service,” the club wrote.

The England women’s national team published the same post as the WSL to its own Twitter account, and both the WSL and the Lionesses changed their profile photos to black.

England captain Leah Williamson called the queen “a constant presence of grace and decency in a world that continued to change around her.”

The US Open will hold a moment of silence before the start of the women’s semifinal matches Thursday night to honor Elizabeth.

Wimbledon offered “deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences” on the queen’s death, while the Women’s Tennis Association expressed gratitude for Elizabeth’s contributions to the sport.

The W Series issued a statement on behalf of CEO Catherine Bond Muir, who said she was “deeply saddened” by the queen’s passing.

“We are privileged to have lived under her reign – the greatest embodiment of women’s empowerment in our lifetime – and we will continue to race in her honor,” she said.

The U.S. Soccer Federation “pays its deepest respect to the legacy and memory” of the queen, it said in a statement on social media.

Phoenix Mercury center Megan Gustafson also offered her condolences, writing that the queen inspired her love of corgis. Elizabeth famously owned a number of corgis during her long reign, and Gustafson currently has a corgi named Pancake.