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Edinburgh Live
Edinburgh Live
Christopher Megrath & Ted Hennessey

Queen's coffin bearers handpicked from an elite fighting force for key role

As the UK's longest serving monarch is laid to rest on Monday, it emerged that members of a specific military unit were chosen for a key role.

As images of the service were beamed around the world, soldiers from the Queen's Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, were seen lifting Her Majesty's coffin into Westminster Abbey. The military unit, as its name suggests, has close links to the former monarch.

The Echo reports how the unit was ordered back from operations in Iraq as news of the Queen's death at Balmoral spread. A military expert told how the guards' role includes protecting the Queen - both in life and after death.

READ MORE - Edinburgh locals flock to Holyrood Park to watch Queen's funeral on huge screen

Former British Army soldier Major Adrian Weale told the PA news agency: "They became the Queen's Company immediately after the death of George VI and the Queen has been commander ever since.

"It's their role to protect her body, both in life and in death, remaining the Queen's Company until King Charles decides otherwise. Their duties will then be transitioned to the next monarch."

The coffin will travel from the Palace of Westminster to Westminster Abbey for the service at 11 am. A public procession will begin at 12.15 pm as the Queen's coffin makes the 1.5-mile journey from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch in London.

The state hearse will then carry it to Windsor in Berkshire, where the Queen will be laid to rest. Major Johnny Hathaway-White, 36, from Wiltshire, will lay the Camp Colour of the Captain of the Queen's Company at Windsor Castle after it is placed onto a catafalque - a raised platform.


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