LONDON: Former England football captain David Beckham has joined the huge queues in London to file past the coffin of the late Queen Elizabeth II.
The ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid star told Sky News he had joined tens of thousands of people snaking towards Westminster Hall to celebrate Britain’s “special” queen.
Elizabeth’s death has triggered an outpouring of emotion across the nation, with people queueing for hours, many through the night, to pay their respects to the late monarch, who died last week.
The queue was temporarily paused on Friday after a park at the end of the line along the River Thames reached capacity, the government said.
Beckham, 47, was seen wearing a dark flat cap, suit and tie as he waited in line to pay his respects.
“This day was always going to be a difficult day,” he told Sky News. “Our thoughts are with the family – it’s very special to hear all of the stories from people here.
“The most special moment for me was to receive my OBE (Order of the British Empire honour from the queen, which he received in 2003). I took my grandparents with me who were huge royalists.
“I was so lucky that I was able to have a few moments like that in my life to be around Her Majesty. It’s a sad day, but a day to remember.”
Beckham said he had turned up to queue in the early hours, hoping to dodge the main rush but had been thwarted in his plan.
“I thought by coming at 2:00 am it was going to be a little bit quieter – I was wrong,” he told ITV News.
The former footballer said every time the national anthem had been played at England matches was special.
“Every time that we stood there when we wore those Three Lion shirts and I had my armband and we sang God Save Our Queen, that was something that meant so much to us,” he told ITV.
Beckham was among scores of sports stars from across Britain and the world who paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth after death aged 96 last week.
At Westminster Abbey on Monday morning, the queen will be honoured with Britain’s first state funeral in nearly six decades, with more than 2,000 guests expected.