Over the last few months, several changes have had to be made to the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. But this Monday, a positive change will happen as for the first time the Captain of the Queens Guard will be a female officer. The Guard is being formed by the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, led by its second in command Captain Megan Couto.
Her commander, Major Jason Hudson said “As a young platoon commander, her work has been stellar.
“Given the circumstance – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing – why not give her the opportunity? She has proven herself over and over and I have no doubt that will be portrayed again on Monday. The company had been drilling at least once a day since arriving in the UK, to perfect the complicated moving parts of the ceremony.”
Major Hudson is correct, in his comment a once-in-a-lifetime thing. It is rare that the Queens Guard is not formed from one of the five Guards Regiments and even rarer that it should be from a regiment outside of the three Services. Though in this case, it may relate to the fact that this year is the 150th anniversary of Canadian Independence. There is some sadness though, their Colonel in Chief was Countess Mountbatten who sadly died earlier this month aged 93.
The Battalion will provide the guard until 3 July and will be accompanied by the Royal Canadian Artillery Band. Captain Couto had not realised the significance of her appointment until it was pointed out to her; while the Canadian military has been open to women at all ranks since 1998, there are not scheduled to be any in the five-foot divisions until the end of this year. Although there are female soldiers in both the Household Cavalry and the Kings Troop.
When asked what she felt about her forthcoming duty she said “I’m feeling healthy stress I think it will go well. We’ve practised enough that I’m confident the soldiers all know where they’re going and I know my practices. We’ll be ready.”