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.
The Canadian Mounted Police lead the funeral procession to Wellington Arch. pic.twitter.com/x8SSs7Jd8A
— Royal Central (@RoyalCentral) September 19, 2022
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.
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.
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.
The horses beautifully behaved. 👏❤️❤️❤️❤️
— Ruth Campbell (@RuthCampbell1) September 19, 2022
I was a very proud Canuck to see this!!!
— Sarah T (@auscanucksarah) September 19, 2022
Proud of my country 🍁🍁🍁 https://t.co/7aICWiMPMh
— SECR323 🇬🇧🍁🏳️🌈🛡️ (@ArmchairRailway) September 19, 2022
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.