Even the lottery will be postponed

Britain will grind to a halt as a mark of respect, writes Amanda Kelly
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The Independent Online
The United Kingdom will come to a halt on Saturday morning as a grieving nation watches Diana, Princess of Wales, laid to rest. Shops and businesses all over the country will close their doors as a mark of respect and all the day's major sporting fixtures have been abandoned.

Many theatres will keep their curtains drawn and big name cinema chains will remain empty until the evening. Even the National Lottery will stop rolling. Camelot announced that the weekend draw would be postponed until Sunday morning. The owner of Harrods, Mohamed al-Fayed, whose son, Dodi, was also killed in the crash, has ordered that the department store will be closed on Saturday as a mark of respect.

People from all walks of life have booked the day off work and Register Offices all over the country have received calls from couples who had planned to marry at the weekend but who now wanted to postpone the ceremony.

The supermarket chain Tesco will keep all its stores closed until 2pm, and Going Places, Britain's second largest travel agent, will close its network all weekend. Many financial institutions, including the Yorkshire Bank and Birmingham Midshires building society, will close their branches on Saturday.

Cricket's NatWest Trophy Final, which would have been the biggest sporting event of the day, has now been put back until Sunday. Peter Edwards, the secretary-general manager of Essex, which is to play Warwickshire, said: "Princess Diana was a hugely popular figure and people who were due to turn up at Lord's on Saturday will now be free to say farewell and pay their respects."

A decision over the weekend's football league programme will be taken today, but Rugby Football Union officials say all league fixtures will be delayed until Sunday. RFU spokesman Richard Prescott said: "The postponement of Saturday's fixtures is a relatively small but sincere gesture from the English Rugby Partnership and the RFU to recognise the tremendous impact Princess Diana had on all our lives."

The British Horseracing Board announced that the five meetings at Haydock, Epsom, Thirsk, Wolverhampton and Stratford, scheduled for Saturday have all been scrapped. Even the annual pre-Trades Union Congress cricket match between journalists and union leaders has been called off.

The National Trust, of which the Queen Mother is president and Prince Charles is vice-president, will close all its houses, shops and restaurants until 3pm.

In Portsmouth, of which the Princess was a freeman, all the city's public buildings will close on Saturday and a remembrance service will be held in the cathedral on Thursday.

Among theatres, Shakespeare's Globe, the National and the Royal Shakespeare Company have all cancelled matinee performances on the day of the funeral and a one-minute silence will be held before many performances this week.

A gala dinner to celebrate the completion of renovation work to the Serpentine Gallery in central London, at which the Princess was to have been the guest of honour, will no longer take place on Thursday.

Hello! magazine, which so often featured Diana on its cover, will be late on the newsagents shelves. Several hundred thousand copies of this week's edition are being pulped because it carried articles about the Princess's romance with Dodi Fayed.

Yesterday, many workplaces held silences to remember the Princess. Others cancelled their day's business and stayed at home. The Prime Minister remained at Downing Street after calling off two meetings, and the leaders of all the political parties opted to stall campaigning on devolution. And the heart of London's financial world stopped at 11am yesterday when thousands of City workers took a few moments to honour the late Princess.

Celebrations in Glasgow to mark the centenary of the Scottish TUC were abandoned, as was a ceremony to mark the handing over of Rosyth former naval base in Fife from the Ministry of Defence to a private consortium. Scotland's home rule referendum will, however, go ahead as planned on 11 September, the Scottish Office announced yesterday.

Football league matches today and tomorrow will go ahead, although many clubs will hold one-minute silences.