The 47-year-old soccer star was first spotted by mourners in line on Friday (16 September) morning as he neared Westminster Hall. Beckham was seen wearing a black flat cap, a suit, and a black tie for the occasion.
His presence came as MPs and other celebrities, including This Morning hosts Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, came under fire for “jumping the queue” when they paid their respects via a press gallery for a separate viewing.
In London, the queue to see the Queen’s coffin was reopened on Friday after it had reached capacity with at least a 14 hour wait. The line to Westminster Hall at the House of Parliament, where the Queen’s coffin is lying in state until her funeral on Monday, stretched five miles across London.
When asked why he decided to view the Queen’s coffin lying in state, Beckham explained that he wanted to come on behalf of his family. “I grew up in a household of royalists and I was brought up that way, so if my grandparents would have been here today, I know that they would have wanted to be here,” he said.
“I’m here on their behalf and on the behalf of my family and obviously to celebrate with everybody else here,” he added.
“It’s a sad day but it’s a day for us to remember the incredible legacy she’s left.”
Many fans and mourners alike took to social media to share pictures and videos of Beckham waiting in line to view the Queen’s coffin.
In one viral clip, which was taken by BBC News reporter Tanya Hines, Beckham had neared Victoria Tower Gardens when one fan asked to take a picture with the star. The retired soccer player declined, explaining, “Sorry I can’t hold the line up.”
David Beckham has just gone by in the queue of queues hats off to him! pic.twitter.com/luUXTVoHmm
— Tanya Hines (@newsroomgirl) September 16, 2022
Another fan was able to quickly snap a selfie with Beckham as he passed him in the queue. “We come to pay my respects to The Queen and just before we go in we get to meet the handsome Mr Beckham,” tweeted writer Christopher Anstee.
Others praised the father of four for waiting nearly 12 hours in the queue, just like everybody else who wished to view the Queen’s coffin lying in state.
“David Beckham joined the queue to see the Queen’s coffin at 1.45am Friday morning,” said journalist Tony Parsons. “If he looks like a man who has been up all night - he has.”
“Full credit to this man who could have played the VIP card. He is a credit to our nation, and his Queen.”
“David Beckham queueing 12 hours to pay respects to the Queen – further proof that he is, fundementally, one of life’s good guys,” said writer Harry Wallop.
David Beckham joined the queue to see the Queen's coffin at 0145 am Friday morning. If he looks like a man who has been up all night - he has. Full credit to this man who could have played the VIP card. He is a credit to our nation, and his Queen. pic.twitter.com/Gc8VQSETGn
— Tony Parsons (@TonyParsonsUK) September 16, 2022
David Beckham queueing 12hrs to pay respects to the Queen – further proof that he is, fundementally, one of life's good guys. https://t.co/JuIcpqRDpO
— Harry Wallop (@hwallop) September 16, 2022
Upon entering Westminster Hall, Beckham appeared tearful and solemn as he paid his respects to the Queen. Footage from the BBC shows Beckham entering the historic hall, after removing the hat he had been wearing while standing in line.
The entrance to Southwark Park reopened on Friday, despite an announcement from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport that said the line would be closed off for at least six hours to manage capacity.
Although the line was paused due to full capacity, a second queue began to form outside the park along Jamaica Road, causing attendants to eventually reopen the gate.
Many famous faces have also paid their respects to the Queen. New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern, who will attend the Queen’s funeral on Monday, was seen at Westminster Hall on Friday where she viewed the late monarch’s coffin.
Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid also queued to get into the Palace of Westminster, saying she went to view the Queen’s coffin with her mother.
On Saturday morning (17 September), Tilda Swinton was spotted in the public queue, with many praising her for “refusing to take advantage of status” to pay her respects to the Queen.
However, Schofield and Willoughby attended the lying in state as members of the press and were led to a press gallery for a separate viewing, bypassing the hours-long queue that members of the public have to wait in.
MPs are also given special access to Westminster Hall to pay their respects to the late Queen, and are able to bring in up to four guests.
People took to Twitter to slam the “unfair” treatment, with many criticising MPs, Schofield and Willoughby for “thinking they’re better than the rest of us”.
“I have total respect for David Beckham who queued for 12 hours with everyone else, took photos with the public, spoke to them and was a general nice guy, unlike Phil and Holly who decided they were better than the public and bypassed the queue,” one person wrote.
However, others pointed out that Schofield and Willoughby were there as members of the press. “Susan is silly for queuing. Beckham is not a journalist. Holly and Phil will describe their experience for thousands of viewers who couldn’t be there,” a Twitter user said.
— Naomi Jewitt (@Nomio1984) September 16, 2022
Westminster Hall will remain open 24 hours a day to allow thousands of members of the public to pay their respects, until 6.30am on the day of the Queen’s funeral, Monday 19 September. From there, the Queen’s coffin will be taken in a grand military procession from the Palace of Westminster to Westminster Abbey for the funeral. The procession will also be joined by senior members of the family and military personnel.
After the service, the coffin will be taken in procession from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch and then travel to Windsor. Once in Windsor, the hearse will travel to St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle for another televised committal service.
Later in the evening, there will also be a private interment service with senior members of the royal family.
The Queen’s final resting place will be the King George VI memorial chapel, an annex to the main chapel – where her mother and father were buried, along with the ashes of her sister, Princess Margaret.