“She led the country through some of our greatest and darkest moments with grace and decency and a genuine caring warmth,” John told the crowd, adding, “I’m 75. She’s been with me all my life, and I feel very sad that she won’t be with me anymore.”
The British singer was knighted by the late monarch in 1998 for his contributions to music.
John also released a statement after Buckingham Palace announced the queen’s death, writing that he would “miss her dearly.”
According to TIME, John’s relationship with the royals began in the ’70s when Queen Elizabeth’s sister, the late Princess Margaret, invited him to dinner at Kensington Palace. John attended the weddings of both Prince William and Prince Harry.
John was one of many people, including celebrities, politicians and world leaders, who paid their respects to the queen.
Sir Paul McCartney, who has also been vocal about his admiration of the queen, wrote: “God bless Queen Elizabeth II / May she rest in peace / Long live The King.” Britain’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, said, “She has been a personal inspiration to me and to many Britons,” adding, “Her devotion to duty is an example to us all.”
President Biden and first lady Jill Biden said the queen “was more than a monarch.”
“She defined an era,” they added. “In a world of constant change, she was a steadying presence and a source of comfort and pride for generations of Britons, including many who have never known their country without her.”
The queen’s son, King Charles III, delivered his first address as king to the British people on Friday, “citing his feelings of profound sorrow” and pledging “lifelong service” grounded in “loyalty, respect, and love.”
“To my darling mama, as you begin your last great journey to join my dear late papa, I want simply to say this: Thank you. Thank you for your love and devotion to our family and to the family of nations you have served so diligently all these years,” the king said. “May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”