Despite being given the opportunity to skip the line by an MP, David Beckham waited in the crowd for more than 13 hours yesterday to pay his respects to the Queen.
The 47-year-old former England captain joined mourners in the “Elizabeth line” at 2am while wearing a suit that concealed his renowned tattoos, a cap, and a Covid mask. He shuffled his way from Southwark Park to Westminster Hall for hours without being seen by anyone.
Beckham claimed he and those around him, who initially assisted in keeping his secret, subsisted on a very unfootballer-like diet of “Pringles, sherbet lemons, sandwiches, coffee, and doughnuts.”
‘We all want to be here together. We all want to experience something where we celebrate the amazing life of our Queen and I think something like this today is meant to be shared together,’ he told BBC News.
After noon, the former midfielder for Manchester United and Real Madrid finally had his cover blown when people started sharing the information on social media.
The Daily Mail has learned that in order to bypass the line, an MP invited Beckham to see Her Majesty’s coffin. MPs are permitted to bring up to four guests. But he declined, claiming that the offer would have disappointed his grandfather Joseph West, a devoted royalist whom the footballer has referred to as his “real-life hero.”
A source said: ‘David could have avoided all of the queuing but he wanted to be like everyone else. He said his grandad wouldn’t have [jumped the queue] so neither would he. He had been wondering all week when the best time was to go and finally he went for this morning.
‘David was brought up in an East End family who were real royalists – the kind who would stand to attention when the national anthem came on. He wanted to go to see the Queen like any other member of the public.’
Additionally, Beckham chose to wear a suit because he claimed that’s what his 83-year-old grandfather, who passed away in 2009, would have done.
Beckham appeared emotional as he moved past the coffin to pay his respects after waiting in line for 13 hours. At one point, he appeared to wipe a tear from the corner of his eye. He frequently interacted with the Queen while serving as England’s captain, and in 2003, she bestowed the OBE upon him.
‘Every time 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. Every time we did it, it was something special,’ Beckham told reporters.
‘So this day was always going to be difficult. It’s difficult for the nation, it’s difficult for everyone around the world, because I think everyone is feeling it, and our thoughts are with the family and obviously with everybody here today. Because it’s special to be here, to celebrate and to hear the different stories that people have to say. I thought by coming at 2am, it was going to be a little bit quieter – I was wrong.
‘Probably the most special moment for me was when I received my OBE. I took my grandparents with me, who were the ones that really brought me up to be a huge royalist and a fan of the Royal Family, and obviously I had my wife there as well.
‘To step up, to get my honour but then also Her Majesty, to ask questions, to talk, I was so lucky that I was able to have a few moments like that in my life.
‘Because we can all see with the love that has been shown, how special she was and the legacy she leaves behind. It’s a sad day, but it’s a day for us to remember the incredible legacy that she’s left.’
On his Instagram, he frequently expressed his love for her, and when she passed away last week, he wrote: “I’m truly saddened by Her Majesty, the Queen’s death. What a display of affection and esteem for the Platinum Jubilee’s life of service we witnessed.
‘How devastated we all feel today shows what she has meant to people in this country and around the world. How much she inspired us with her leadership. How she comforted us when times were tough.’
On being questioned about the line-up while on his knees, he responded: ‘The knees are OK, it’s the back and the feet.’
Beckham’s neighbour in the line, one woman, told BBC News: ‘Big respect to him. He’s stood with us and he’s paid his respects how he wants to and I think that’s amazing.’
Other famous people who stood in line included Susanna Reid, the host of Good Morning Britain, who waited more than seven hours with her mother to see the Queen’s coffin lying in state.
The broadcaster, 51, posted the following on Twitter: ‘I have just experienced a moment in history… at once majestic and peaceful.’