Dame Kelly Holmes broke down as she reflected on the more than 11-hour queue to see the Queen in repose at London’s Westminster Hall.
The 52-year-old athlete reflected on her experience of viewing the late monarch’s coffin on Sunday as she appeared as Loose women panelist on Tuesday.
She said she felt “forced” to join the five-mile queue after attending the National Diversity Awards, rushing back to London from Liverpool to do so.
In tears: Dame Kelly Holmes broke down as she reflected on queuing for more than 11 hours to see the Queen in repose at Westminster Hall in London
Kelly broke down in tears as she spoke of the “enormity” of the moment, admitting that seeing the Queen’s coffin before her funeral on Monday was very final.
She said: “Going through security got really serious, I don’t think I’ve processed it. The enormity of the hall and the coffin seemed so small… It’s so final. I was mostly out of breath when they went on their long walk to Windsor.’
Kelly said she has a close connection with the monarch, having served in the Royal Women’s Armored Corps at the age of 17 while the Queen was Commander-in-Chief of the British Army and Head of the Armed Forces.
Speaking about her decision to queue, Kelly explained: “I was in Liverpool for the National Diversity Awards and I won. I came back after the party and came back at 2.30am and felt so compelled to get in that line.
Queue: The 52-year-old athlete reflected on how she watched the late monarch’s coffin on Sunday while appearing as a panelist on Tuesday’s Loose Women.
“I changed my arrangements, got on the 7am train, put on some warm clothes at Charing Cross and got in line. It was a moment of joy, unity and togetherness.”
Kelly also spoke of the sense of togetherness in the queue, saying she befriended 90-year-old John Collinson, who queued with her for seven hours.
She said he insisted on queuing with members of the public for seven hours before he finally accepted an offer from first responders to fast-track him because of his health.
“The first aides said you can get to the queue quickly and I said to him, ‘You can go, you’ve done your service’ and I said I’d welcome him today because he’s watching Loose Women. So hello John!” she said.
Grief: Kelly broke down in tears as she spoke of the “enormity” of the moment, admitting it felt good to see the Queen’s coffin ahead of her funeral on Monday.
It comes after Kelly took to Instagram on Monday to share her experience queuing to see the Queen and opened up about her new friend John.
She wrote: “As you know from my stories I spent yesterday late into the evening queuing to see our Queen lie in state. It was the most wonderful day for many reasons.
“I’ll be posting another tape about it soon. But it’s about an amazing guy called John Collinson who I befriended.
“John was born June 26, 1932 (age 90), he was with his daughter and stood in line with us for 7 1/2 hours!!! (He finally let the support staff quickly find him when we were near Lambeth Bridge which was nice but sad to see him go) What a wonderful soul
Unity: Kelly also spoke of the sense of unity in the queue, saying she befriended 90-year-old John Collinson, who queued with her for seven hours
“John was called up for national service at the age of 18 in September 1950 (during the Korean War) and was sent to Winchester to train with the Royal Rifle Corps, part of the 60th Rifle Brigade.
“While King George VI reviewed the troop, so my father stood at attention in the square as the King passed by. After training he served at Camp Borden in Hampshire and then at Strensall near York as a soldier in the Durham Light Infantry, as this was the county in which he was born and lived.
“This will be another one of those memories that I will cherish forever.”
Kelly has been paying tribute to the long-serving monarch for the past week, talking about her experience meeting the Queen during last week’s Free Women.
Honor: Kelly pictured with the Queen at Buckingham Palace reception for Olympic and Paralympic athletes in 2004
Devastated: Kelly, who was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) back in 2005, also took to Instagram that day to share her heartbreak
She joined Ruth Langsford, Linda Robson, Brenda Edwards and Jane Moore on the talk show last week as she is now set to become a full-time panellist.
Explaining that Kelly was “already in tears,” Ruth opened the show: “We’re going to share some very special stories about meeting her and honoring her legacy, starting with a performance of this, one of her favorite songs, that already brought Kelly to tears. .’
While the sportsman also spent time urging Britons to take part in a minute’s silence on Sunday via social media – asking “please don’t forget”.
The palace announced on September 8 that the Queen had taken ill, before later sharing the tragic news of her death in Balmoral, Scotland, at 6.30pm.
Kelly, who was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) back in 2005, shared her heartbreak on Instagram that day, writing: “As you know my ❤️ has ALWAYS been so invested in everything our Queen stands for !
“I am proud to have served under Her Majesty the Queen for my country and sport. I have been one of the lucky ones to meet the Queen on numerous occasions at the races and at Buckingham Palace and to receive my Lady Commander of the British Empire from Her Majesty will always be special in my heart…
“I’m crying now because she’s sick! To cry with/for everyone. No matter what the news is…I support everyone who cares about her being sick. My condolences to our royal family, military, charities and everyone who met or loved her because I know you will feel the same as I do.’
Editing the caption after the announcement, Kelly wrote: “UPDATED 6.45pm / Devastated / VERY SAD DAY / TEAR UP YOUR MAJESTY.”
Army: Kelly served in the Women’s Royal Armored Corp aged just 17 – citing her military background as part of her link with the Queen