Queen Elizabeth II Funeral: history of Grenadier Guards and why they are bearers of the Queen’s coffin

Queen Elizabeth II has been taken from Westminster Abbey

Queen Elizabeth II has left Westminster Abbey for the final time following the end of her funeral today.

Hundreds paid respect to her in the Abbey, and billions watched on from around the world as for the first time in over 70 years, the UK laid a monarch to rest.

The Queen’s coffin was carried in and out of Westminster Abbey by a selection of soldiers from the Grenadier Guards - one of the more famous regiments within the British Army.

Here’s a brief history of the regiment, and why Queen Elizabeth II was known as their commander in chief.

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When were the Grenadier Guards formed?

The regiment is one of the oldest in the British Army and was formed in 1656 by King Charles II.

They have fought in some of the biggest wars of the modern era, including at The Battle of Waterloo.

Four battalions fought on the Western Front during the First World War and six battalions were sent to fight in Northwest Europe, North Africa and Italy.

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The most recent Regimental winner of the Victoria Cross was won by Lance Corporal James Ashworth for his actions in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

A spokesperson for The British Army said: “The Grenadier Guards are one of the most senior infantry regiments in the British Army. Fast and mobile, they specialise in Light Role Infantry operations, often using light vehicles such as quad bikes to get around.

“They are ready to deploy anywhere in the world at short notice.

“Renowned for our dual role, serving with great distinction on overseas exercises and on the battlefield.

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“Providing excellence, symmetry and precision whilst carrying out ceremonial duties in London and at Windsor Castle, our scarlet tunics and bearskins are recognised across the world.”

Who were the coffin bearers for Queen Elizabeth II?

The Queen’s coffin was carried in and out of Westminster Abbey by soldiers of The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards.

The Company was automatically given this name following the death of King George VI in 1952, and they will keep this name until Queen Elizabeth II is laid to rest.

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The monarch as commander in chief of the British Army

The soldiers of The Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards referred to the Queen as their commander in chief.

This is because, for the whole of the British Army, she (and now King Charles III) is the commander in chief.

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