Hidden among the throng, David Beckham waited for more than 13 hours to pay his respects to the Queen yesterday despite being offered the chance to jump the queue by an MP.
Dressed in a suit that hid his famous tattoos, a cap, and a Covid mask, the former England captain, 47, joined mourners in the ‘Elizabeth line at 2 am, going unnoticed by the masses for hours as he shuffled his way from Southwark Park to Westminster Hall.
Along with those around him, who helped keep his secret initially, Beckham said he survived on the 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.
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder saw his cover finally blown shortly after midday, with members of the public taking to social media to share the news he was there.
The Daily Mail can reveal Beckham had been invited to view Her Majesty’s coffin by an MP, who is allowed to take up to four guests, to jump the queue. But he declined the offer, saying that his grandfather Joseph West – a staunch royalist and the man the footballer has called his ‘real-life hero’ – would have been disappointed
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.’
Beckham also opted to dress in a suit because he said that’s what his grandfather, who died in 2009 aged 83, would have done.
After queuing for 13 hours, Beckham looked emotional as he moved past the coffin to pay his respects appearing at one point to wipe a tear from the corner of his eye. As England captain, he met the Queen several times and received his OBE from her in 2003.
‘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.
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