Dame Kelly Holmes reflects on queuing for more than seven hours to see the Queen lying in state

‘It was so final’: Dame Kelly Holmes becomes tearful reflecting on queuing for more than 11 hours to see the Queen lying in state

  • Dame Kelly Holmes became emotional as she reflected on queuing for more than 11 hours to see the Queen lying in state at London’s Westminster Hall 
  • The athlete, 52, reflected on her experience viewing the late monarch’s coffin on Sunday as she appeared as a Loose Women panelist on Tuesday 
  • She said she felt ‘compelled’ to join the queue after attending the National Diversity Awards, rushing back to London from Liverpool
  • Kelly became very tearful as she spoke about the ‘enormity’ of the moment, admitting it felt very final to see the Queen’s coffin ahead of Monday’s funeral 

Dame Kelly Holmes became emotional as she reflected on queuing for more than 11 hours to see the Queen lying in state at London’s Westminster Hall.

The athlete, 52, reflected on her experience viewing the late monarch’s coffin on Sunday as she appeared as a Loose Women panelist on Tuesday.

She said she felt ‘compelled’ to join the five-mile long queue after attending the National Diversity Awards, rushing back to London from Liverpool to do so.

Tearful: Dame Kelly Holmes became emotional as she reflected on queuing for more than 11 hours to see the Queen lying in state at London's Westminster Hall

Tearful: Dame Kelly Holmes became emotional as she reflected on queuing for more than 11 hours to see the Queen lying in state at London’s Westminster Hall

Kelly became very tearful as she spoke about the ‘enormity’ of the moment, admitting it felt very final to see the Queen’s coffin ahead of Monday’s funeral.

She said: ‘It got very serious going through security, I don’t think I’ve processed the going through. The enormity of the hall and the coffin looked so small… It’s so final. I mainly got choked up when they went on the long walk up to Windsor.’

Kelly said she has a close connection with the monarch having served in the Women’s Royal Armoured Corp at 17 years old, while the Queen was the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army and Head of the Armed Forces.

Speaking about her decision to join the queue, Kelly explained:  ‘I was in Liverpool at National Diversity Awards, and I won. I got back after an afterparty, and I got back at 2.30am and I felt so compelled to have to join that queue. 

Queue: The athlete, 52, reflected on her experience viewing the late monarch's coffin on Sunday as she appeared as a Loose Women panelist on Tuesday

Queue: The athlete, 52, reflected on her experience viewing the late monarch’s coffin on Sunday as she appeared as a Loose Women panelist on Tuesday 

‘I changed my arrangements, got on a train at 7am, got some warm clothes on at Charing Cross and joined the queue. It was a moment of joy and unity and togetherness.’

Kelly also spoke about the feeling of unity in the queue, saying she befriended a 90-year-old man John Collinson, who queued with her for seven hours.

She said he had insisted on queuing with members of the public for seven hours, before he finally accepted first aiders offer to fast track him due to his health.

‘The first aiders said you can fast track to the queue, and I said to him ‘you can go, you’ve done your service’, and I said I’d give him a shoutout today because he’s watching Loose Women. So hi John!’, she said.

Sadness: Kelly became very tearful as she spoke about the 'enormity' of the moment, admitting it felt very final to see the Queen's coffin ahead of Monday's funeral

Sadness: Kelly became very tearful as she spoke about the ‘enormity’ of the moment, admitting it felt very final to see the Queen’s coffin ahead of Monday’s funeral

It comes after Kelly took to Instagram on Monday to share her experience of queuing to see the Queen’s lying in state, and spoke about her new friend John.

She penned: ‘As you know from my stories I spent the day yesterday until late last night queue to see Our Queen lay in State. It was the most wonderful day for so many reasons.

‘I will post another reel about that soon. But this is about an amazing guy named John Collinson, who I befriended.

‘John was born in 26th June 1932 (90 years old) he was with his daughter and queued with us for 7 and half hours!!! (Finally he allowed the support staff to fast track him when we were close to lambeth bridge which we were pleased with but sad to see him go) What a lovely soul

Unity: Kelly also spoke about the feeling of unity in the queue, saying she befriended a 90-year-old man John Collinson, who queued with her for seven hours

Unity: Kelly also spoke about the feeling of unity in the queue, saying she befriended a 90-year-old man John Collinson, who queued with her for seven hours

‘John was called up for National Service aged 18 in September 1950 (at the time of the Korean War) and sent to Winchester to be trained by the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, part of the 60th Rifles Brigade. 

‘While there King George VI inspected the unit so my dad on the parade ground stood at attention as the King passed. After his training he served at Borden camp in Hampshire and then Strensall near York as a soldier of the Durham Light Infantry since that was the county he was born in and lived in.

‘This will be another one of those memories I will treasure for ever.’

Kelly has spent the last week paying tribute to the long-serving monarch – opening up about her experience meeting the Queen while on Loose Women last week.

Honour: Kelly pictured with the Queen during a 2004 reception for Olympic and Paralympic athletes at Buckingham Palace

Honour: Kelly pictured with the Queen during a 2004 reception for Olympic and Paralympic athletes at Buckingham Palace

Devastated: Kelly, who was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) back in 2005, also took to Instagram on the day to share her upset

Devastated: Kelly, who was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) back in 2005, also took to Instagram on the day to share her upset

She joined Ruth Langsford, Linda Robson, Brenda Edwards and Jane Moore on the talk show last week, as she is now set to be a full time panelist.

Explaining that Kelly was ‘already in tears’, Ruth opened the show: ‘We will be sharing some very special stories about meeting her and honouring her legacy, starting with playing that, one of her favourite songs, which has already got Kelly in tears.’

While the athlete also spent time urging Brits to take part in the minute of silence on Sunday via social media – pleading ‘please do not forget’.

The Palace announced on September 8 that the queen was ill, before later sharing the tragic news of her death in Balmoral, Scotland, at 6.30pm.

Kelly, who was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) back in 2005, took to Instagram on the day to share her upset, writing: ‘As you know my ❤️ has ALWAYS been so invested in everything our Queen stands for!

‘I am proud to have served under Our Majesty the Queen for my Country and in Sport. I have been one of the lucky ones to have met the Queen on numerous occasions at horse racing and Buckingham Palace and to receive my Dame Commander of the British Empire from Her Majesty will be something I will hold special in my heart for ever…

‘I am crying right now as sad she is not well! Crying with/for everyone. Whatever the news….I am just for everyone who cares about her being Ill. Sad for, Our royal family, the military, charities and everyone who has met or loves her because I know you will feel the same as I do.’

Editing the caption following the announcement, Kelly then wrote: ‘UPDATED 18:45 / DEVASTATED / A VERY SAD DAY / RIP YOUR MAJESTY.’

Army: Kelly served in the Womens Royal Armoured Corp at just 17 years old - citing her military background as one of the reasons for connection to the Queen

Army: Kelly served in the Womens Royal Armoured Corp at just 17 years old – citing her military background as one of the reasons for connection to the Queen

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