Dame Kelly Holmes met a fellow veteran in the queue to visit Queen Elizabeth lying-in-state.

·2-min read


Dame Kelly Holmes met a fellow veteran in the queue to visit Queen Elizabeth lying-in-state.
The 52-year-old athlete served in the Army before winning gold medals at the 2004 Olympics for sprinting and felt "compelled" to visit Her Late Majesty - who died on September 8 at the age of 96 following a 70-year reign - as she was lying in state at Westminster Hall and changed her plans last minute but ended up meeting a veteran named John who had served during the time of the Queen's father King George VI.
She said: "I was in Liverpool at the National Diversity Awards and I won, I'm very pleased to say and I got back after the after-party. It felt weird celebrating at the time but I did. At 2:30 in the morning, I felt so compelled to have to join that queue. I've talked very openly about my military service and given that kind of Oath of Allegiance but I felt so compelled.
"I changed my arrangements, got on the train at 7am, made some arrangements to get some warm clothes, got changed in the toilets at Charing Cross, and ended up joining the queue. It was the most moving but joyous moment of togetherness. I met this wonderful man called John who was 90 years old. He stayed with us for seven and a half hours and I was getting him involved along the way by getting the police do press ups and I kept everyone entertained.
"Finally, opposite the Houses of Parliaments, the first aiders said he could fast track and he looked at me because I'd taken him under my wing at this point. I said 'You can go, you've done your service.' He’d also served in the military and was talking to me about having King George VI come past on the parade, he was so proud.”
Kelly - who was honoured by the appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by the late monarch back in 2005 for her services to sport - went on to describe queuing as an occasion full of "togetherness" but is still struggling to "process" the moment she paid her respects to Queen Elizabeth.
Speaking on 'Loose Women', she added: "It was a wonderful occasion, it was that togetherness. So we were laughing and enjoying that moment of all of us coming together. But when we came to the chicane, it got very serious then for going through security. I don't think I have processed the going through, the enormity of the hall. The coffin looked so small. It was so quiet."
During her wait in the queue, Kelly documented her journey with John on Instagram which she had labelled her fellow veteran as "her hero."