Dame Kelly Holmes reflects on queuing for more than seven hours to see the Queen lying in state
Dame Kelly Holmes became emotional as she reflected on the fact that she had queued for more than 11 hours to see the Queen in state in London’s Westminster Hall.
The athlete, 52, reflected on her experience viewing the late monarch’s coffin on Sunday when she appeared as a Loose Women panelist on Tuesday.
She said she felt “forced” to join the five-mile queue after attending the National Diversity Awards and rushing back to London from Liverpool to do so.
Tearful: Dame Kelly Holmes became emotional as she reflected on having to queue for more than 11 hours to see the Queen in state in London’s Westminster Hall
Kelly became very tearful as she spoke of the “hugeness” of the moment, admitting that seeing the Queen’s coffin before Monday’s funeral felt very final.
She said: ‘It got very serious going through security, I don’t think I processed the passage. The sheer size of the hall and the coffin seemed so small… It’s so final. I got especially anxious when they made the long walk to Windsor.’
Kelly said she has a close relationship with the monarch who had served in the Women’s Royal Armored Corp at the age of 17 while the Queen held the Commander in Chief of the British Army and Chief of the Armed Forces.
Speaking about her decision to line up, Kelly explained: “I was in Liverpool at the National Diversity Awards and I won. I came back after an after party, and I was back at 2:30 am and I felt so compelled to get in that line.
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 appointments, got on the train at 7am, put on warm clothes at Charing Cross and got in line. It was a moment of joy and unity and togetherness.’
Kelly also spoke about the feeling of unity in the queue, saying that she befriended 90-year-old man John Collinson, who stood in line with her for seven hours.
She said he insisted on standing in line for the public for seven hours, before finally accepting the offer of first responders to quickly follow him due to his health.
“The first aiders said you can get to the line quickly, and I told him ‘you can go, you did your service’, and I said I’d give him a shoutout today for watching Loose Women. So hello John!’ she said.
Grief: Kelly broke down in tears as she spoke of the ‘hugeness’ of the moment, admitting it felt very final to see the Queen’s coffin before Monday’s funeral
It comes after Kelly took to Instagram Monday to share her experience of queuing to see the Queen in state, and talked about her new boyfriend John.
She wrote: ‘As you know from my stories, I queued all day yesterday until late last night to see Our Queen on duty. It was the most beautiful day for so many reasons.
I’ll be posting a reel about that soon. But this is about a great guy named John Collinson, whom I befriended.
‘John was born on June 26, 1932 (90 years old) he was with his daughter and stood in line with us for 7 and a half hours!!! (In the end he allowed the support staff to follow him quickly as we were close to Lambeth Bridge which we were happy about but sad to see him go) What a beautiful soul
Unity: Kelly also spoke about the feeling of unity in the queue, saying that she befriended 90-year-old man John Collinson, who stood in line with her for seven hours
John was drafted into military service at the age of 18 in September 1950 (during the Korean War) and sent to Winchester to be trained by the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, part of the 60th Rifles Brigade.
“While King George VI was inspecting the unit, my father stood at attention on the parade ground as the King passed. After his training he served at Borden camp in Hampshire and then at Strensall near York as a soldier in the Durham Light Infantry, as that was the county in which he was born and where he lived.
“This is going to be one of those memories I’ll cherish forever.”
Kelly has paid tribute to the long-serving monarch for the past week and talks about her experience meeting the queen at Loose Women last week.
Honor: Kelly pictured with the Queen at a 2004 reception for Olympic and Paralympic athletes at Buckingham Palace
Devastated: Kelly, who was named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2005, also took to Instagram that day to share her upset
She joined Ruth Langsford, Linda Robson, Brenda Edwards and Jane Moore on the talk show last week as she now becomes a full-time panelist.
Ruth explained that Kelly was “already in tears” and opened the show: “We will share some very special stories about her meeting and honoring her legacy, starting with playing that, one of her favorite songs, where Kelly already has tears from .’
While the athlete also spent time urging Britons to participate in Sunday’s minute of silence via social media – pleading ‘please don’t 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 6:30 pm.
Kelly, who was named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2005, took to Instagram that day to share her upset, writing: ‘As you know, my ❤️ is ALWAYS so invested in everything our Queen for 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 few to have met the Queen on numerous occasions at horse racing and Buckingham Palace and receiving my Dame Commander of the British Empire from Her Majesty will be something I will forever hold special in my heart…
‘I’m crying so sad now that she’s not well! Crying with/for everyone. Whatever the news… I’m here for anyone who cares about her being sick. Sad for our royal family, the military, charities and everyone who has met or loved her, because I know you will feel the same as I do.”
Kelly edited the caption after the announcement, then wrote: “UPDATED 6:45 PM / DESTROYED / A VERY SAD DAY / RIP YOUR MAJESTY.”
Army: Kelly served in the Womens Royal Armored Corp when she was just 17 years old – citing her military background as one of the reasons for her association with the Queen