The eight Grenadier Guards who bore the Queen’s coffin could be given certificates instead of being made Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBEs), despite calls for the hand-picked pallbearers to win the accolades.
Military leaders, politicians and celebrities have all backed calls for the Queen‘s faultless pallbearers to be made MBEs.
The Grenadier Guards who carried the Queen’s coffin into Westminster Abbey and St George’s Chapel showed incredible composure throughout the ceremonies.
But The Daily Telegraph reported Tuesday night that the pallbearers could be given a ‘commendation certificate’ in recognition for their efforts rather than MBEs.
The Grenadier Guards who carried the Queen’s coffin into Westminster Abbey and St George’s Chapel showed incredible composure throughout the ceremonies
One defence source said the award was usually reserved for those who had been ‘valent in battle’.
‘Everyone who moved the coffin would have to get an award,’ the source said, adding it was more likely they will receive a commendation certificate.
But a former head of the army, Lord Dannatt, suggested that The Royal Victoria Order could be appropriate to accolade their efforts, as it is usually given for personal service to the monarch.
‘What could be more personal than carrying the sovereign’s body for lying in state, as well as the state funeral?’ he asked.
MP Tobias Ellwood, Chairman of the defence committee, has called for the soldiers to be recognised in the New Year’s honours list.
‘Their performance did the Queen and the nation proud,’ he said.
Watched by the wellwishers who lined the streets of London and Windsor — and billions worldwide — they produced a perfect performance.
But yesterday the guards officer in charge of parades admitted he had never seen ‘such nervous people’ as the men waiting for the coffin.
Lt Col James Shaw told The Sun: ‘They carried the responsibility of the nation on their shoulders. It was the most important job which had to be perfect and it was.
‘They were outstanding from the first when Her Majesty arrived back at Buckingham Palace all the way through to Westminster Abbey and St George’s Chapel.’
David Sanderson, one of the Queen’s pallbearer’s, is pictured. He lives in Morpeth, Northumberland
Soldier Luke Simpson, from Selston, Nottinghamshire, (pictured before a cadet camp in 2016) was praised by his former teachers at Ashfield School for his role in the funeral
The eight men, handpicked from the regiment’s Queen’s Company, included a teenager and a former reservist.
They were led by a ninth soldier, Company Sergeant Major Dean Jones, a married father-of-one, with another guard at the rear of the coffin.
Serving alongside him included David Sanderson, a British soldier who has served in the King’s Guard and lives in Morpeth, Northumberland
MPs Dan Jarvis and and SAS: Who Dares Wins star Ant Middleton agreed that the soldiers should be made Members of the British Empire.
There is a historical precedent for such an award as the Grenadiers who were responsible for bearing Sir Winston Churchill’s coffin in 1965 received the British Empire Medal (BEM).
At the time, the BEM was awarded to soldiers holding the rank of warrant officer and below for meritorious service. Officers ranked lieutenant and higher received the MBE. This distinction ended after a review in 1993.
Mr Middleton, a former Special Forces operative, said they ‘deserved nothing less than an MBE’.
CSM Jones, the eldest of the party, led his young charges throughout the ceremonies. Meanwhile, the guardsmen, corporals and lance sergeants under his command carried the coffin, weighing more than 500lbs due to lead lining, up and down steps without putting a foot wrong.
Many of them had been on operational service in Iraq and were flown back to the UK for the funeral.
Company Sergeant Major Dean Jones (pictured left) was at the front of the coffin, leading the eight pallbearers in exemplary fashion yesterday
The youngest of the pallbearers was believed to be 19-year-old guardsman Fletcher Cox from Jersey (pictured right)
The youngest of the pallbearers was believed to be guardsman Fletcher Cox from Jersey, both 19 years old.
Cox, a former Army cadet, fulfilled his childhood ambition by joining the Grenadier Guards.
But he could scarcely have imagined he would be trusted to carry the Queen’s coffin.
And soldier Luke Simpson, from Selston, Nottinghamshire, was praised by his former teachers at Ashfield School for his role in the funeral. Head teacher John Maher said he took his place ‘centre stage on such a historic occasion’ and executed his duties ‘so professionally’.
The Ministry of Defence last night refused to be drawn on whether the pallbearers would be decorated for their exemplary performance at the funeral.