The Queen’s Guard is an elite military force that is charged with keeping the Queen of England safe. They’re also the ones that millions of tourists see every year performing the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace.
The Queen’s Guard, or something like it, has existed since Henry VIII created the Sovereign Bodyguard in 1509. Elite soldiers gain ranks through exemplary service and it remains one of the most prestigious positions in the Queen’s Army.
Queen Elizabeth is the current Head of State of all countries in the British Commonwealth. Nations including Canada, Australia, Barbados and others. Soldiers from those countries also make up The Queen’s Guard.
This year is a special year for Canada and it will mark the northern nation’s 150th birthday. To celebrate the big day, the UK bestowed the honor of commanding The Queen’s Guard on a Canadian division of infantry: Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry Battalion.
It ended up being a lot bigger gesture than any could have realized, and resulted in a big first step.
Captain Megan Coutu heads up the fighting force, and when they were charged with protecting the Royal Family Captain Coutu became the first female captain of The Queen’s Guard in it’s 500 year history.
“I’m just focusing on doing my job as best I can and staying humble. Any of my peers would be absolutely delighted to be Captain of The Queen’s Guard and I’m equally honored,” she said.
It wasn’t until July of 2016 that women were even allowed to fight in close combat roles in the UK , so this marks a huge first step for British military.
Couto perfectly ran her troops through the complicated and colorful ceremony of Changing of the Guard. Millions of people come to London to see the show, and many forget that the guards aren’t props, but carefully trained soldiers.
While there’s no doubt that Couto is a tough soldier, her promotion also means so much more to women in fighting roles everywhere.