David Beckham said he “knew what it meant 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 joined the public five-mile 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 towards the queen’s coffin.
Last weekend’s football schedule was canceled in honor of the Queen, with the Premier League resuming on Friday night with matches at Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa.
“There should always be respect for our queen in the country at this time of mourning,” Beckham, who played 115 times for the Three Lions, told the PA news agency.
“But as a former football player and former England captain, I know what it meant to us to step out onto this pitch to represent our Queen, our country and the Three Lions.
“And when we’re there, it gives us the opportunity to celebrate in a way that only football can and only football fans can.”
Beckham was appointed OBE for his services to football in the Queen’s Birthday Honors List in 2003. He has also met the Queen on several occasions.
Beckham, 47, added: “It’s moving for everyone involved. Her Majesty was someone special and will be missed by everyone.
“Throughout my career, when I’ve been asked to do anything relating to the Royal Family, Her Majesty, the Princes, our King now, I’ve always been very willing to do it.
“I grew up in a royalist family. Today I think back to my grandparents because if my grandparents were alive they would have been here so it’s nice to be here celebrating Her Majesty’s life and legacy with everyone that she leaves.”