Who were the pallbearers at the Queen's funeral and how were they chosen?

Many are calling for the soldiers to be honoured for their efforts

pallbearers carring the Queen's coffin out of Westminster Abbey during Queen Elizabeth II's funeral
(Image credit: Future/Getty)

The pallbearers at the Queen's funeral have received their fair share of praise since the event for their professionalism whilst under the public gaze.

The UK and Commonwealth came together to bid goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II in a touching ceremonial state funeral. Draped in the Royal Standard flag and topped with a stunning bouquet of sentimental funeral flowers (opens in new tab), many watched as Her Majesty's coffin made the journey from London's Westminster Abbey to Windsor Castle (opens in new tab) where the Queen was buried (opens in new tab) alongside her late husband. 

Those playing an important part in the day's proceedings was a group of Grenadier Guards who carried the heavy lead-lined coffin into both venues for the respective funeral and commital services. Not putting a foot wrong all day, the young men were a highlight for many watching along who applauded their ease and commitment to the task. As such many are curious to know who the pallbearers were and how they came to be selected for the special role. We reveal all.

Who were the pallbearers at the Queen's funeral?

A total of eight pallbearers carried the Queen's coffin during the state funeral. This included Nottinghamshire soldier Luke Simpson and 19-year-old Fletcher Cox who was the youngest pallbearer there.

Walking in front and behind the Queen's coffin respectively were Company Sergeant Major Dean Jones and Second Lieutenant Freddie Hobbs. And it was Lieutenant Hobbs who viewers saw giving commands to the pallbearers as they carried out their extra-special task.

All pallbearers were members of the Queen's Company 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards. Each soldier ranged in rank from guardsman to Lance Sergeant and were responsible for transporting the 500lb coffin throughout the day.

Fletcher Cox

19-year-old Fletcher Cox from Jersey was selected as one pallbearer at the Queen's funeral. He attended Army cadets as a teenager and left his hometown at 16 for military training college.

It was whilst a member of the Army Cadet Force at Grainville School that Cox was awarded the Lieutenant-Governor's medal in 2018 - the highest honour a Jersey cadet can be given. According to ITV (opens in new tab), it was his childhood ambition to join the Grenadier Guards.

Laura Therin, a staff sergeant with Jersey's Army Cadet Force said: "He always knew he wanted to go into that line of work - it always was his passion, and it's so great to see that paying off."

Posted by jerseyarmycadetforce on 

Luke Simpson

Luke Simpson hails from Selton in Northamptonshire and was another selected to carry the Queen's coffin. The soldier made both his family and former teachers proud.

“We had a tear watching but they have all done us proud," Luke's dad Mark said (per The Mirror (opens in new tab)). "It’s been an honour to see them all doing their best for the country and the Crown. We are so proud.”

Luke's former Head teacher John Maher of Ashfield School had similar words of praise. He said the ex-student took his place "centre stage on such a historic occasion" and executed his duties "so professionally".

Company Sergeant Major Dean Jones

Married father-of-one Company Sergeant Major Dean Jones led the pallbearers, positioned at the front of the Queen's coffin. He hails from Long Eaton, Derbyshire and has been in the Army for 19 years.

During his career with the Grenadier Guards, Jones has completed two tours in Afghanistan and two tour in Iraq. It was confirmed that he would be returing to duty following the funeral. 

Sergeant Dean Jones highlighted with a circle in a picture of the pallbearers at the Queens funeral

Sergeant Major Dean Jones highlighted in a picture of the pallbearers at the Queens funeral

(Image credit: Future/Getty)

The moment is likely to have been extra special for the warrant officer who met the Queen on several occasions - including when she presented new colours to the Grenadier Guards (opens in new tab) in May 2010.

Second Lieutenant Freddie Hobbs

Giving the orders from the back of the coffin was Second Lieutenant Freddie Hobbs - a 24-year-old from West Sussex. Hobbs was one guard who returned from Iraq to carry out the pallbearer role.

He also led the Grenadier Guards regument previously the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant in June this year. The son of a former Grenadier Guards officer, he joined the army in January 2021 after time at the Bristol University Officer Training Corps.

What is the Queen's Company 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards?

The 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards is the most senior infantry regiment in the Army, with it's history dating back to 1656. Their role is made up of two responsibilities - to serve their country overseas and to guard the monarch and the palaces at home.

"Whether they are fighting on the front line or guarding a Royal Palace, members of the Regiment are renowned for their determination, loyalty and grit," reads their official profile on the British Army website (opens in new tab).

The ruling monarch is officially commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces and the Grenadier Guards have a special loyalty to them, They became The Queen's Company guards following King George VI's death in 1952, with Queen Elizabeth II's coronation (opens in new tab) taking place a year later. Following Her Majesty's passing their name has changed to The King's Company on account of King Charles III now being on the throne.

a close up of Grenadier guards in uniform

(Image credit: Getty)

The Grenadier Guards are recognisable amongst other troops for their distinctive uniform. Their scarlet tunics and black bearskins are a synonymous symbol with London - much in part to their role to stand guard outside Buckingham Palace.

How were the pallbearers chosen?

A British Army Spokesperson shared that the "12 very best soldiers will have been selected to provide the bearer party at Her Majesty’s funeral." It was important that the men were similar heights to ensure the coffin stayed level. 

The pallbearers were chosen from the Grenadier Guards because of their duty to the monarch and their ranking as one of the most senior regiments. 

"It's their role to protect her body, both in life and in death, remaining the Queen's Company until King Charles decides otherwise. Their duties will then be transitioned to the next monarch," added former British Army soldier Major Adrian Weale in an interview with the PA news agency.

Praise for the Queen's pallbearers:

Many took to social media to share their praise of the pallbearers during the Queen's funeral including celebrities Piers Morgan, Lorraine Kelly and ex-SAS Who Dares Wins host Ant Middleton.

ITV presenter Lorraine Kelly tweeted: "These lads were faultless - such a difficult duty carried out impeccably." Meanwhile Piers Morgan posted: "These magnificent 1st Battalion Grenadier Guard pallbearers have been done their Queen and country proud. Incredible job under hugely stressful conditions."

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Members of the public and military figures have been calling for the soldiers to be recognised for their professionalism following the state funeral. 

"They ought to be recognised," said former Army commander General Lord Richard Dannatt, suggesting each pallbearer be awarded the Royal Victorian Order. "The Royal Victorian Order is for personal service to the sovereign and I would suggest you can’t get more personal than carrying the sovereign’s body throughout all the funeral services."

Whilst people have publicly called for the pallbearers to be honoured there has been no news or official confirmation on whether this will happen.

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