David Beckham said he “knew what it means to represent the Queen” after queuing for 13 hours to see the late monarch lying in state.
The former Manchester United and England captain revealed he had joined the five-mile public line at 2.15am on Friday before paying his respects at Westminster Hall in London just after 3.15pm.
An emotional Beckham appeared to wipe away a tear before nodding his head towards the Queen’s coffin.
Last weekend’s football program was canceled in honor of the Queen and the Premier League restarts with games at Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa on Friday night.
“Respect should always be shown to our Queen of the Land at this time of mourning,” Beckham, who played 115 times for the Three Lions, told the PA news agency.
“But as a former footballer and former England captain, I know what it meant for us to step onto this field to represent our Queen, our country and the Three Lions.
“And when we’re out there, it gives us an opportunity to celebrate in a way that only football and only football fans can.”
Beckham was made an OBE for his services to football on the Queen’s Birthday Honors List in 2003. He also met the Queen several times.
Beckham, 47, added: “It’s emotional for everyone involved. Her Majesty was someone special and will be missed by all.
“Anytime during my career when I have been asked to do anything relating to the Royal Family, Her Majesty the Princes, our King now, I have always been willing to do it.
“I grew up in a royalist family. Today I think of my grandparents because if my grandparents had been alive they would have been here, so it’s nice to be here to celebrate with everyone Her Majesty’s life and the legacy she leaves behind.”