O Canada! Proud moment as four Mounties lead Queen Elizabeth II’s final funeral procession

Four ‘resplendent and spectacular’ horses of the Royal Canadian Mountain Police led Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral procession today, marking the culmination of a 53-year love affair between the late Monarch and the ‘Mounties’.

Ridden by Canadian officers wearing the famous red tunics and stetsons, the four horses marched through the streets of London from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch.

The procession marked a proud moment for Canadians, with some tweeting that it is a ‘tremendous honor’ for Canada.

Fittingly, one of the quartet who rode in the procession was named Elizabeth, in honor of the Queen Mother, and was given to the Queen as a gift to mark her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

Elizabeth, aged 17, paraded alongside George, a 22-year-old horse that has been ridden by King Charles at Trooping The Color ceremonies since 2009, and Sir John, a 14-year-old charger currently ridden by Princess Anne.

The final member of the foursome, aged 16, is called Darby and has toured the world with the Musical Ride – a spectacular display team consisting of 32 horses bearing riders with 7ft lances, performing intricate manoeuvres.

The horses were ridden at the procession by RCMP officers Superintendent Kevin Fahey, Sergeant Major Scott Williamson, Corporal Justine Rogawski and Constable Katy Loisel.

The Mounties led the procession and were followed immediately by representatives of the George Cross foundations from Malta, the former Royal Ulster Constabulary, and four representatives from the NHS.

Four ‘resplendent and spectacular’ horses of the Royal Canadian Mountain Police led Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral procession today, marking the culmination of a 53-year love affair between the late Monarch and the ‘Mounties’

Ridden by Canadian officers wearing the famous red tunics and stetsons, the four horses marched through the streets of London from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch

Ridden by Canadian officers wearing the famous red tunics and stetsons, the four horses marched through the streets of London from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch

Fittingly, one of the quartet who rode in the procession was named Elizabeth, in honor of the Queen Mother, and was given to the Queen as a gift to mark her Diamond Jubilee in 2012

Fittingly, one of the quartet who rode in the procession was named Elizabeth, in honor of the Queen Mother, and was given to the Queen as a gift to mark her Diamond Jubilee in 2012

The Mounties led the procession and were followed immediately by representatives of the George Cross foundations from Malta, the former Royal Ulster Constabulary, and four representatives from the NHS

The Mounties led the procession and were followed immediately by representatives of the George Cross foundations from Malta, the former Royal Ulster Constabulary, and four representatives from the NHS

A general view of Mounties of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police along The Mall on Monday

A general view of Mounties of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police along The Mall on Monday

The procession marked a proud moment for Canadians, with some tweeting that it is a ‘tremendous honor’ for Canada

One Brit tweeted: 'Not just Brits who do the pomp and circumstance so well.  Canadian Mounties look positively resplendent

The procession marked a proud moment for Canadians, with some tweeting that it is a 'tremendous honor' for Canada

One Brit tweeted: ‘Not just Brits who do the pomp and circumstance so well. Canadian Mounties look positively resplendent’

The procession marked a proud moment for Canadians, with some tweeting that it is a 'tremendous honor' for Canada

The procession marked a proud moment for Canadians, with some tweeting that it is a ‘tremendous honor’ for Canada

Queen Elizabeth II riding her beloved horse Burmese, which was a gift from the RCMP, in 1969 at the Trooping of the Color

Queen Elizabeth II riding her beloved horse Burmese, which was a gift from the RCMP, in 1969 at the Trooping of the Color

Queen Elizabeth II riding her beloved horse Burmese, which was a gift from the RCMP, in 1969 at the Trooping of the Color

The Queen, who visited Canada 22 times during her 70-year reign, was honorary commissioner of the Mounties and the four horses that led her funeral procession are in a long line of horses that were given to the monarch by Canada.

The Mounties of the RCMP were hailed today as ‘ravishing’ by those who watched the Queen’s funeral procession, with some Canadians saying it was a ‘proud moment’ for them.

One Canadian tweeted: ‘As a Canadian, if you don’t feel some kind of pride watching the Mounties lead the Commonwealth section of the procession, I don’t know what to tell yah!’

Another Canadian said: ‘Thank you, your Majesty, for selecting the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to lead your procession. A tremendous honor. Canada mourns your passing.’

One Brit tweeted: ‘Not just Brits who do the pomp and circumstance so well. Canadian Mounties look positively resplendent.

Another Twitter user tweeted: ‘I really didn’t expect the Mounties. Those ravishing horses. I was going to keep quiet today, out of respect (my mother’s voice in my head), but the Mounties! I couldn’t let them pass.’

Another wrote: ‘I thought the Canadian Mounties looked spectacular!’

Sgt Major Williamson, who rode Darby today, said it was ‘incredibly humbling’ to be given the honor of leading the funeral procession.

‘The relationship that we have with Her Majesty is very special and it’s fair to say it’s even become quite personal.

‘It’s hard to describe everything that I am feeling right now. I have the personal emotions of sadness and grief. Obviously there is a lot of pressure right now.

‘We are in what we would call a ‘no fail mission’ right now, and that is to represent the strength and the great people of this country during this ceremony.’

The Queen’s deep affection for the RCMP began when the Mounties presented her with a horse called Burmese as a gift in 1969.

The stunning black mare quickly became one of Queen Elizabeth’s favorite horses, which she rode at Trooping The Color for 18 years between 1969 and 1986.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police during the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on Monday

Royal Canadian Mounted Police during the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on Monday

The horses were ridden at the procession by RCMP officers Superintendent Kevin Fahey, Sergeant Major Scott Williamson, Corporal Justine Rogawski and Constable Katy Loisel

The horses were ridden at the procession by RCMP officers Superintendent Kevin Fahey, Sergeant Major Scott Williamson, Corporal Justine Rogawski and Constable Katy Loisel

Burmese came to public prominence in 1981, when a teenager at the ceremony fired six blanks from a gun.

Although Burmese initially shied and cantered forward, the Queen, an accomplished rider, quickly regained control, to cheers from the crowd.

The following year, Queen Elizabeth was pictured on Burmese during a ride with US President Ronald Reagan in Windsor.

When her beloved horse retired in 1986, the Queen declined to ride a replacement and opted to take part in the parade from a carriage.

Burmese, meanwhile, enjoyed a pampered retirement at Windsor Castle and was put out to pasture in fields where the Queen could see her on her visits. Burmese died in 1990 aged 28 and was buried in the grounds of Windsor.

‘She rode Burmese for 18 Trooping The Color and that was the beginning of a special relationship that we created with Her Majesty,’ Sgt Major Williamson added.

At 16 hands tall and with a calm temperament, the mare Elizabeth appeared to have captured the Queen’s heart in recent years in the way Burmese once did.

After receiving the horse as a gift, Her Majesty pledged to return the RCMP’s generosity by breeding it and returning them its first foal.

Queen Elizabeth II inspects a detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Windsor

Queen Elizabeth II inspects a detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Windsor

An initial attempt with a stallion called High Spirits was unsuccessful, so the Queen sent the mare to Germany, where success was found with a stallion named Viscount.

The subsequent foal, called Victoria, made history in 2016 when it was the first non-thoroughbred bloodstock to be born at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate.

The Queen kept her promise to the Mounties and presented Victoria as a gift to mark the country’s 150th anniversary.

The mare Elizabeth had a second foal, which was named Venus by the Queen’s granddaughter, Lady Louise Windsor.

.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: