Four horses from the Mounties to lead the queen's funeral procession

The quartet, which will by ridden by officers wearing red tunics and Stetsons, will ride from Westminster Abbey to Hyde Park Corner

Royal Canadian Mounted Police during the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II. Getty Images
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Four horses from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will lead the ceremonial parade for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral procession.

The quartet, which will by ridden by officers wearing red tunics and Stetsons, will ride from Westminster Abbey to Hyde Park Corner.

The horses, called Elizabeth, George, Sir John, and Darby, are trained for special occasions and expected to cope well with the hundreds of people packing the route.

Sgt Maj Scott Williamson, who will be riding Darby, said it was “incredibly humbling’” to lead the funeral procession.

“We are in what we would call a “no-fail mission” right now, and that is to represent the force and the great people of this country during this ceremony," he said.

The tribute will honour the queen’s love of Royal Canadian Mounted Police horses, which stretched back more than five decades.

She received a coal black mare called Burmese from the Mounties in 1969. She appeared on the horse at 18 consecutive Trooping the Colour parades.

During the 1981 ceremony, a teenager fired six blanks from a gun, startling Burmese. The queen, an accomplished rider, coolly regained control of the horse, raising cheers from the crowd. Scots Guardsman Alec Galloway sprang into action to apprehend the attacker and told The National he would not forget that day as long as he lived.

The mare's last appearance at the Horse Guards Parade was in 1986, after which she was put out to pasture in the grounds of Windsor Castle within easy sight of the queen. She died of a stroke four years later and was buried in the grounds.

The queen did not ride on a horse again at Trooping the Colour, opting to take part in the parade from a carriage instead.

Updated: September 19, 2022, 11:26 AM
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