Megan Couto, a 24-year-old Canadian soldier, has made history as the first woman to become captain of the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace.
The changing of the guard, conducted on four days a week, draws thousands of tourists to Buckingham Palace and Monday was no exception, with large crowds outside the gates in the summer sunshine.
(AP Photo/Matt Dunham). Canadian Captain Megan Couto, left, makes history by becoming the first female Captain of the Queen’s Guard as she takes part in the Changing the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London, Monday, June 26, 2017.
Women were banned from combat roles in the British army until July a year ago, meaning no female infantry officers had ever had the role of Captain of the Queen’s Guard before Couto.
No British woman has yet led the Queen’s Guard because they were not allowed in “ground close combat” until July 2016. “Any of my peers would be absolutely delighted to be captain of the queen’s guard and I’m equally honored”.
“I’m not feeling too nervous”, Couto said beforehand.
“Women have been involved in Canada’s military service for more than 100 years”, Sajjan said. This change will apply to roles in the infantry of which the Queen’s Foot Guards are part, which will be open to women by the end of next year.
“[It’s] a great honour for Canada always to mount the guard”. “This is particularly significant today as it leads to our 150th birthday celebration this weekend”.
Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, based in Shilo, Manitoba, Canada, was named after Princess Patricia of Connaught, daughter of the then-Governor General of Canada.
“Congratulations to Capt. Megan Couto, who made history today as the first Infantry woman to Captain the Queen’s Guard”, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a statement.
“A lot of the things that I do, I am the first”, said Couto, a graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story.