David Beckham remembers ‘caring leader’ as sport pays tribute to the Queen

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Former England football captain David Beckham remembered a “unique, inspirational and caring leader” as tributes were paid from the world of sport to the Queen on the day of her state funeral.

Sport came to a standstill across the United Kingdom on Monday as Britons pay their final respects to the Queen, and organisations and individuals posted messages of condolence.

Beckham had queued for 13 hours to see the late monarch lying in state at Westminster Hall.

After the Queen was laid to rest at St George’s Chapel in Windsor on Monday afternoon, the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder posted his own tribute on Instagram.

“Our Queen is home. Today we said a final farewell to Her Majesty The Queen. This week the world has mourned the loss of a unique, inspirational & caring leader,” Beckham said.

“People from all walks of life came together in their thousands to show gratitude for our beloved Queen. Alongside the incredible ceremony and tradition we have watched a loving family grieve for a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother with dignity and dedication.

“Her legacy of service and devotion to duty will endure. Long live the King”

Earlier on Monday, heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury posted a video online, in which he said: “I’ve been off social media for the last 10 days mourning in respect for our Queen who’s died.

“I hope the funeral goes well, condolences to the full family and may she rest in heaven for eternity.”

The English Football League wrote on its Twitter page: “On the day of the funeral for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the EFL and its clubs would like to join the nation in reflecting on the late Sovereign’s remarkable life of service to the country, and our thoughts are with the Royal Family.”

The manager of the Northern Ireland men’s national football team Ian Baraclough and his assistant Jimmy Nicholl also paused for a moment of reflection at Windsor Park in Belfast on Monday morning.

Premier League teams paid tribute, with Southampton posting a photo of the Queen presenting the FA Cup trophy to their captain Peter Rodrigues after the 1976 final win over Manchester United at Wembley.

Top-flight football resumed over the weekend, with teams honouring the late monarch through moments of silence, specially-designed programmes and other tributes.

Racing, the Queen’s favourite sport, originally had meetings scheduled at Leicester, Warwick, Hamilton Park and Wolverhampton but they were cancelled after the funeral date was announced.

A number of figures from that sport were in attendance at the funeral at Westminster Abbey, including the Queen’s racing manager John Warren, who on Saturday described the Queen’s “remarkable ability to get so much pleasure out of any horse, no matter what level that horse was able to achieve”.

Queen Elizabeth II with her racing manager John Warren
The Queen’s racing manager John Warren (right) (Tim Ireland/PA)

Warren continued: “If we had done our best, if we were able to get the equivalent of a D student a C grade with best endeavour, that itself was tremendous.

“The horse had the last word and that’s what was fascinating for the Queen.”

Australian trainer Gai Waterhouse was also among the mourners, although fellow handler Chris Waller could not make the trip due to Covid-related issues.

The Queen was patron of numerous sporting institutions including the Football Association, British Olympic Association, the MCC and the Commonwealth Games Federation.

The Queen with Lord Coe, the chairman of the London 2012 organising committee
The Queen with Lord Coe, the chairman of the London 2012 organising committee (Tony Marshall/PA)

In 2012, she famously showcased her acting talent alongside Daniel Craig in a James Bond video for the Olympic opening ceremony in London.

While sport is paused at home, some British teams competing elsewhere have announced plans to honour the Queen.

Those include the country’s rowers at the world championships in Racice, Czech Republic, whose request for a schedule adjustment to avoid a clash with the funeral was turned down by World Rowing.

A statement from British Rowing read: “We have sought to compete with the most appropriate adjustments to show our respect for HM The Queen, the Royal Family and the nation.

“The team will be wearing black ribbons when racing during the period of mourning and will join the nation to observe the minute’s silence on Sunday evening. Everyone within the team delegation not directly involved in racing will also observe the two-minute silence on Monday.”