Canadian Regiment Takes Up Spot in Queen’s Guard

Nick Owens - 1B Mechanical
Posted on: July 2, 2017

This year’s Canada Day, as you might know, is the historic 150th anniversary of the country, and the celebrations have spread their way to the Canadian Armed Forces. The past week has proven to be a historic occasion for the military. Recently, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II invited a Canadian Regiment to take up the role of the Queen’s Guard for select dates before July 3rd. Usually, this role is specifically reserved for members of the British Military, but an exception was made due to the landmark anniversary. This particular event marks multiple historic events and is a reminder of both the origins of Canada as a British colony as well as the role that Canada and the United Kingdom have played in each other’s history.

On June 26th, 40 Canadian soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry were selected to take their place around Buckingham Palace, bearing with them the Canadian flag while carrying out the Changing of the Guards, a tradition that has been held since the 1800s. Another historical event was marked as Captain Megan Couto became the first female officer in history to command the Changing of the Guards Ceremony in the entire 180-year history that this event has taken place. The primary reason for this was due to the fact women were banned from front line infantry positions in the British Military up until 2016, meaning that most, if not all guards up until this point, have been men. With a different policy regarding female soldiers, issued at an earlier date in time, the Canadian Armed Forces have involved women in many positions that would make them suitable for the job.

This occasion serves a point of reflection for Canada. Only 150 years ago, Canada was only a colony of the United Kingdom. The Canadian Military and the British Military were one and the same. Even after confederation, the UK still had great influence over the country. This occasion serves as a symbol of how Canada has developed over its 150-year history. Recently, the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge was marked, a turning point in Canada’s progress towards autonomy and the first battle fought exclusively by the Canadian armed forces. Now, with another hundred years of history, the United Kingdom has invited Canadians to participate as part of the Queen’s Guard, not as subjects, but as allies.