Calls for Queen’s pallbearers to be awarded MBEs after their flawless composure during nerve-wracking funeral
- The eight pallbearers were handpicked from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guard
- Former head of the army Lord Dannatt said the soldiers should be made MBEs
- Said the pallbearers had ’embodied the professionalism of the Armed Forces’
- MPs Dan Jarvis and Tobias Ellwood supported the soldiers who received honours
- Queen’s funeral: All the latest news and coverage of the royal family
Military leaders, politicians and celebrities have backed calls for the Queen’s flawless pallbearers to receive medals.
The Grenadier Guards who carried the Queen’s coffin into Westminster Abbey and St George’s Chapel showed incredible composure during the ceremonies.
Watched by well-wishers lining the streets of London and Windsor – and billions worldwide – they produced a perfect performance.
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 Dean Jones, a married father of one, with another guard at the back of the coffin. Last night former Head of the Army Lord Dannatt, MPs Dan Jarvis and Tobias Ellwood and SAS: Who Dares Wins star Ant Middleton agreed that the soldiers should be made Members of the British Empire (MBEs).
There is a historical precedent for such an award, when the Grenadiers responsible for carrying Sir Winston Churchill’s coffin in 1965 received the British Empire Medal (BEM).
The Grenadier Guards who carried the Queen’s coffin into Westminster Abbey and St George’s Chapel showed incredible composure during the ceremonies
At that time, the BEM was awarded to soldiers with the rank of warrant officer and below for meritorious service. Officers ranked lieutenant and above received the MBE. This distinction ended after a review in 1993.
Lord Dannatt said the MBE would be a fitting reward for the pallbearers who ’embodied the professionalism of the armed forces’.
Private 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
Sir. Ellwood, head of the Commons defense committee, said: “Their performance did the Queen and the nation proud.” Sir. Middleton, a former Special Forces agent, said they ‘deserved nothing less than an MBE’.
CSM Jones, the oldest of the party, led his young charges during the ceremonies. Meanwhile, the guardsmen, corporals and lance sergeants under his command carried the coffin, which weighed more than 500 pounds due to lead lining, up and down the steps without putting a foot wrong.
Many of them had been on operational duty in Iraq and were flown back to the UK for the funeral.
The youngest of the pallbearers is believed to be 19-year-old guard Fletcher Cox from Jersey. The former army cadet fulfilled his childhood ambition by joining the Grenadier Guards.
But he could hardly have imagined that he would be entrusted with carrying 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. Headteacher John Maher said he took his place “centre stage on such a historic occasion” and carried out his duties “so professionally”.
The Ministry of Defense last night declined to be drawn on whether the pallbearers would be decorated for their exemplary performance at the funeral.