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For Queen And Country: Farewell, Your Majesty

“I was touched by the events of yesterday, listening to the service and the events that unfolded until the coffin was transferred from the carriage into the hearse on its final journey to Windsor.”
21 Sep 2022 13:34
For Queen And Country: Farewell, Your Majesty
Members of the Irish Guard Regiment of the British Armed Forces after the funeral procession of the late Queen Elizabeth II (from left) Ratu Sitiveni Matanababa, David Mcgoon, Ropate Ralawa and Elia Tuni in London on September 19, 2022

As the body of the Late Queen Elizabeth II was finally laid to rest in Windsor, United Kingdom on Monday, four Fijian members of the Irish Guard (also known as the Queens guard) were proud to have been part of the procession of Her Majesty’s final journey home.

With complete silence and heads bowed as a sign of respect to the late monarch, Ratu Sitiveni Matanababa, David Mcgoon, Ropate Ralawa and Elia Tuni paid their final farewell to Britain’s longest serving monarch in a moving farewell yesterday.

Ratu Sitiveni is from Naluwai in Naitasiri, Mr Ralawa from Rewa, Mr Mcgoon from Vagadaci, Ovalau and Mr Tuni from Vanuavatu in Lau.

For Mr Mcgoon and his three other colleagues, participating in the Queen’s funeral was something he would cherish for the rest of his life.

Member of the British Armed Forces, Orisi Divavesi, before the funeral procession on September 19, 2022

Member of the British Armed Forces, Orisi Divavesi, before the funeral procession on September 19, 2022

He said though the preparations were hectic, he happily performed the task for the Queen and his country, Fiji.

“Our regiment’s task is to guard the Royal properties like Buckingham Palace, St James Palace, Windsor castle and the Tower of London,” he said.

There are five foot guard’s regiments: The Grenadier Guards, The Coldstream Guards, The Scots Guards, The Irish Guards and the Welsh Guards. Collectively they are known as the Guards Division.”

Since the announcement of the Queen’s passing, members of the UK Armed Forces honoured their Commander-in-Chief of 70 years, Her Majesty the Queen, participating in the vigil and guarding the Queen’s coffin as she lay in state.

 

Final Farewell

Another member of the British Armed Forces, Orisi Divavesi, took part in the actual procession following the coffin of the Late Queen from Westminster Abbey to the Wellington Arch yesterday.

The Raralevu, Namata, Tailevu native who is a member of the Welsh Guards regiment said it was an honour to have played a part in the historical event.

“I was a member of the marching party, when the funeral service was nearing conclusion we assembled outside for the slow march that escorted the coffin of the late Queen into the streets of London,” he said.

 

“We were actually on leave and we were called in after the announcement of the death from Buckingham palace.”

Mr Divavesi is in his 15th year of service in the British Army.

“I was touched by the events of yesterday, listening to the service and the events that unfolded until the coffin was transferred from the carriage into the hearse on its final journey to Windsor.”

 

He said it was something he would share to his children and grandchildren for generations to come.

“Our job is to guard the Queen, we did that right until her final procession.”

Following a committal service, the late Queen was laid to rest at King George VI chapel in Windsor next to her husband Prince Philip and where her mother and father were buried and the ashes of her late sister, Princess Margaret, are kept.

 

Story by: inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj



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