The funeral of HRH Queen Elizabeth II on Monday, September 19th was a somber, dignified, and beautiful event. If you tuned in for either the procession to Westminster Abbey and the following service, or the procession to Windsor Castle and the service there (if you’re a true Royal watcher you caught both), you weren’t alone. Some 20-plus million Brits tuned into the broadcast with global viewership estimated to be near four billion.
We Canadian horse folks no doubt took notice of the four RCMP horses that lead the procession from Westminster Abby to Wellington Arch where her casket was transferred to a hearse before continuing on to Windsor Castle. The four horses were George, ridden by Const. Katy Loisel, Darby, ridden by Sgt.-Maj. Scott Williamson, Sir John, ridden by Supt. Kevin Fahey, and a mare named Elizabeth, which was a gift to the Queen on her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and was named after the Queen Mum. She was ridden by Cpl. Justine Rogawski, who told CTV News it was a “great honour” to ride in the procession. “We all swore an oath to the Queen and I feel like there is also that connection,” she said.
Once the Queen’s coffin was driven up the historic Long Walk to Windsor Castle, viewers noticed a solitary black pony standing to one side near the road by the bouquets that had been left by mourners. The pony is Emma, a Fell mare whose registered name is Carltonlima Emma. There are many photos of the Queen riding Emma on the grounds of Windsor Castle in the last few years, well into her 90s. Fell ponies were one of the Monarch’s favourite breeds, and she bred the British ponies since the 1950s, and was a patron of the Fell Pony Society. Savvy viewers also noted that one of the Queen’s signature headscarves covered the saddle as a token of remembrance.
There were dozens of other horses taking part in the funeral procession, something that the Queen painstakingly planned years before her passing. She was a passionate horse lover, breeder, and rider, so it was fitting that the majestic animals would be showcased for the Queen’s last ride.
Highlights from the Queen’s funeral procession can be viewed here: