The former England football captain David Beckham joined the queue for the Queen’s lying-in-state on Friday, saying it was “special to be here”.
He joined other high-profile figures to have been seen waiting to pay tribute this week, including the former prime minister Theresa May, This Morning presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield and the Good Morning Britain host Susanna Reid.
Beckham was appointed an OBE for services to football in June 2003 in the Queen’s birthday honours list.
Speaking about paying tribute to the Queen on the football pitch, Beckham told ITV News: “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.
“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.
“Because it’s special to be here, to celebrate, and to hear the different stories that people have to say.”
Speaking about joining the queue, he added: “I thought by coming at 2am it was going to be a little bit quieter – I was wrong.”
The public queue to attend the Queen’s lying-in-state paused temporarily on Friday. Officials stopped people joining the queue entirely at about 11.35am at the entrance to Southwark Park in south-east London due to overwhelming demand.
Beckham said he felt “lucky” to have spent time with the Queen. When asked whether he had any anecdotes about his experiences with the Queen, he told ITV News: “Probably the most special moment for me was when I received my OBE.
“To receive 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, to be around Her Majesty.
“Because we can all see, with the love that has been shown, how special she is and how special she was and the legacy that she leaves behind.
“It’s a sad day, but it’s a day for us to remember the incredible legacy that she’s left.”