Queen Elizabeth's Canadian wish for funeral: RCMP’s dominant role in procession honours monarch

·Lifestyle and News Editor
·3-min read
Royal Canadian Mounted Police led the procession during the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on Sept. 19, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Marko Djurica - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Royal Canadian Mounted Police led the procession during the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on Sept. 19, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Marko Djurica - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Five officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) led Queen Elizabeth II's funeral procession in London on Monday.

During the State Funeral on Sept. 19, the troop of officers from the RCMP Musical Ride marched at the front of the procession.

According to the RCMP's riding master Sgt. Maj. Scott Williamson, the Musical Ride has had a "very special" and "quite personal" relationship with the late British monarch. In fact, Queen Elizabeth II specifically asked that riders from the group be included in her funeral procession.

Up to 32 members are part of the RCMP Musical Ride, but Williamson, Cst. Katy Loisel, Cpl. Justine Rogawski, Supt. Kevin Fahey and Cpl. Derek Quilley were chosen for the ceremony.

While Quilley helped assist the delegates, the other Mounties rode horses gifted to the Queen, with Williamson riding Darby, Loisel on George, Rogawski riding Elizabeth and Fahey on Sir John.

"It's a big honour to be part of it and to have been chosen," Loisel told CBC News. "I never thought I could be here."

Over the years, the RCMP and Queen Elizabeth II held a tight bond. During her royal visit to Canada in 1951, then-Princess Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, saw a performance of the Musical Ride in Regina. Forty-six men and horses were then sent to perform at her coronation in 1953.

Throughout her 70-year reign, the Musical Ride gifted eight of their horses to Queen Elizabeth II. The first included Burmese, a pure black filly born in Saskatchewan in 1969.

For 18 consecutive years, the Queen rode Burmese during the Trooping the Colour ceremony between 1969 to 1986. Once Burmese retired, she never rode another horse for the event.

Queen Elizabeth II riding sidesaddle on 'Burmese', a gift from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, during the Trooping the Colour ceremony on Horse Guards Parade, London, England, Great Britain, 13 June 1981. The 1981 ceremony saw Marcus Serjeant fire six blank cartridges at the Queen as she turned down Horseguards Parade for the start of the Trooping the Colour ceremony. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth II riding sidesaddle on 'Burmese', a gift from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, during the Trooping the Colour ceremony on Horse Guards Parade, London, England, Great Britain, 13 June 1981. The 1981 ceremony saw Marcus Serjeant fire six blank cartridges at the Queen as she turned down Horseguards Parade for the start of the Trooping the Colour ceremony. (Photo by Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images)

Out of the four horses that appeared during the State Funeral, George, Sir John and Darby were trained by and performed with the Musical Ride before being gifted to the Queen. The fourth horse, Elizabeth, was gifted to the monarch for her Diamond Jubilee, and was actually named after the Queen Mother.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police led the procession during the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on Sept. 19, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Marko Djurica - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Royal Canadian Mounted Police led the procession during the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on Sept. 19, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Marko Djurica - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

While the four horses that appeared during the State Funeral were gifted to Queen Elizabeth II, other members of the royal family have taken a liking to them: Charles rides George during Trooping the Colour, while Princess Anne often rides Sir John.

People on social media were glad to see the horses and Canadian Mounties leading the Queen's funeral procession on Monday.

For the funeral procession, the Mounties were followed by George Cross recipients, NHS workers, officers of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and detachments of the Armed Forces. In total, seven groups marched.

Mounties of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police along The Mall in London, England on Sept. 19, 2022. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Mounties of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police along The Mall in London, England on Sept. 19, 2022. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)