State funeral pallbearers praised for service to the Queen

The guardsmen who carried the Queen’s coffin have been praised for their professionalism and composure at the state funeral.

Soldiers from the Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, carried the coffin draped in the Royal Standard as millions of people around the world watched the ceremony.

The unit had a close connection with the Queen – as the serving monarch she held the position of company commander and made a personal review of the company every decade.

The work of the eight pallbearers was highlighted by people watching the events as they took place in Westminster and Windsor.

Carla Lockhart, Upper Bann’s DUP MP, said: “Amidst the pageantry and occasion, eight young men silently went about their duty.

“The weight of the world on their shoulders, the glare of the world on them, but they were flawless.

“They did themselves, their families and our country proud. Thank you.”

Broadcaster Stephen Fry was more succinct: “Bearer Party, to the pub – quick march.

“Bearer Party, lift tankard. Bearer party, down beer. You’ve earned it.”

As the bearer party returned to duty for the committal service at Windsor, he added: “Oops. I hope they didn’t take my advice. A final session to complete first.”

The guardsmen had to carry the coffin up the steps to the West Door of St George’s Chapel – with viewers again holding their breath.

Tory former minister Eddie Hughes said: “I held my breath for every step… These lads are amazing.”

Fellow Tory MP Tom Hunt said: “I can’t imagine how hard and emotionally challenging it must have been to have carried Her Late Majesty’s coffin just once.

“They’ve done it time and time again this week. With billions watching. They’ve done Her Late Majesty and the country proud.”

The Queen’s Company will retain its name up until the monarch is laid to rest, and will later change to reflect the new King.

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.”

On the day the Queen died, the unit was deployed on operations in Iraq but returned to take part in the ceremonial events.

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