David Beckham had the chance to use a special access queue to pay his respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II, but he declined it, it has been reported.
The football star has been praised widely for waiting 13 hours in the public queue to view the Queen’s lying in state in Westminster Hall on Friday (16 September).
He joined fellow mourners in the official queue at 2am and got through the night on a diet of “Pringles, sherbet lemons, sandwiches, coffee and doughnuts”, he said.
The 47-year-old former England captain was reportedly offered the opportunity to pay his respects to the late monarch as a guest of an MP.
MPs are given special passes to bypass the public queue and can bring up to four guests with them – a privilege that has been slammed by members of the public as “elitist” and “unfair”.
However, theDaily Mail reported that Beckham declined the offer to jump the queue.
The newspaper quoted a source as saying: “David could have avoided all of the queuing but he wanted to be like everyone else. He said his granddad wouldn’t have [jumped the queue] so neither would he.
“He had been wondering all week when the best time to go [was] and finally he went for this morning.”
Beckham was awarded an OBE by the late Queen in 2003 and brought his grandparents to the ceremony because they “were the ones that really brought me up to be a huge royalist and a fan of the royal family”, he told reporters while in the queue.
Describing the day he received his honour, Beckham said: “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 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.”
Beckham added that he thought turning up in the middle of the night might have been “a little quieter”, but admitted he was “wrong”.
“Everybody had that in mind,” he told ITV News. “Everybody wants to be here, to be part of this experience and celebrate what Her Majesty has done for us.”
Fans took to social media to applaud the retired footballer’s decision to join members of the public in waiting his turn to see the Queen’s coffin, instead of jumping the queue.
“Always knew David Beckham was a good guy but the respect he has shown to both the British people and the royal family by joining the queue and then quietly paying his respects to the Queen. What a man!” one person wrote.
Meanwhile, other celebrities such asThis Morning hosts Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, as well as MPs, have been criticised for using special passes to pay their respects more quickly.
Schofield and Willoughby attended the Queen’s lying in state as members of the press and were able to bypass the public queue via a press gallery for a separate viewing.