Former soccer player David Beckham has queued for 12 hours to see the Queen lying in state in London.

Speaking from the line to see the late monarch at Westminster Hall, Beckham said it was an experience "meant to be shared".

"We all want to be here together, we all want to experience something where we celebrate the amazing life of our Queen and I think something like this today is meant to be shared together," Beckham told the BBC.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder and England captain told ITV News he joined the line at about 2am local time. The wait time in the queue had increased to at least 19-and-a-half hours by 10:30pm, local time.

"I grew up in a household of royalists, if my grandparents would have been here today I know they would have wanted to be here, so I'm here on their behalf," Beckham said.

A woman queuing with Beckham said "big respect to him, he's stood with us and he's paid his respects how he wants to".

Asked by a reporter if the long wait had affected his knees, Beckham replied, "knees are OK, it's the back". Later inside Westminster Hall, BBC footage showed Beckham sombrely bow his head as he paused at the coffin.

The Queen's closed coffin will remain at Westminster Hall until the morning of the state funeral.