A sad farewell. David BeckhamAs Queen Elizabeth II lay in state prior to her funeral, I struggled to hold back the tears.
The retired soccer pro, 47, was one of thousands of mourners to pay respects at Westminster Hall, where the queen’s casket has been held since her royal procession from Buckingham Palace on Wednesday, September 14. According to the Daily MailBeckham waited for 13 hours in a queue that stretched five miles before finally being allowed to approach the coffin.
The British athlete was captured by cameras shedding his tears while waiting inside the chapel on Friday 16 September. As he stood to bid farewell, he shielded his face by his hands.
Beckham, wearing a black suit and matching cap to express his condolences for the royal family’s loss. “I was so lucky I was able to have a few moments in my life to be around Her Majesty,” he told ITV News on Friday. “[This is] a sad day but it’s a day to remember the incredible legacy she left. … It’s special to be here to celebrate, and to hear the different stories that people have to say.”
Former Manchester United star said that his family always had a soft spot Elizabeth, who died in her Balmoral estate in Scotland on September 8, 1996 at the age of 96. “I grew up in a household of royalists and I was brought up that way,” he said. “I know that [my grandparents] would have wanted to be here, so I’m here on their behalf and on behalf of my family.”
In June 2003, Beckham was appointed an OBE (Order of the British Empire) as part of Her Majesty’s annual list of birthday honors. This title was given to Beckham in recognition of his outstanding soccer career.
“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 on Friday, reflecting on his time representing England on the field. “Every time that we did it, it was something special. So this day was always going to be difficult, and 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.”
After news of Elizabeth’s death, dozens of celebrities paid tribute to her. “What an outpouring of love and respect we saw for the Platinum Jubilee for her life of service,” Beckham captioned an Instagram carousel of black-and-white photos from Elizabeth’s reign on Thursday. “How devastated we all feel today shows what she has meant to people in this country and around the world. We are so grateful for her leadership. She was a comfort to us in times of need. She served her country with dignity, grace, and that was up until her final days. She would have known this year how loved she was. My thoughts and prayers are with our Royal Family.”
David and his wife, Victoria Beckham, hosted a luncheon for MBE recipients during Platinum Jubilee celebrations. The Salford City coowner reflected on his first meeting 20 years ago with the queen.
“[She asked], ‘How’s Victoria, how’s the kids?’” David recalled. “I couldn’t even answer, it was an incredible moment.”
The couple’s history with the royal family extends beyond Her Royal Highness. David and the former Spice Girls attended the May 2018 event. Prince HarryAnd Meghan Markle‘s wedding at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The couple also made an appearance at Prince William‘s nuptials to Princess KateApril 2011.