Woman soldier becomes first female officer to command troops for changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace | London

A woman soldier has spoken of her immense pride at becoming the first female officer to command troops guarding the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Captain Megan Couto, 24, has been given the prestigious role of Captain of the Queen’s Guard and said modestly she would just focus on doing her job to the best of her ability.

Her Canadian unit The Second Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (2PPCLI) – known as The Patricia’s – has been invited to the UK to mark the 150th anniversary of Canada, which is celebrated this year.

Captain Couto said: “I’m just focusing on doing my job as best I can and staying humble. Any of my peers would be absolutely delighted to be Captain of the Queen’s Guard and I’m equally honoured.”

Before marching with her troops from Wellington Barracks to nearby Buckingham Palace, the officer said: “I’m not feeling too nervous. We’ve practised enough and all the guys have been through their paces – I’ve just to focus on saying the right commands.”

The role of Mounting the Queen’s Guard usually falls to the British Army’s Household Division, which is largely made up of male troops.

While women in the British Army have served on frontline duties in a variety of roles, until July last year they were banned from ground close combat roles, so no female officer has served as Captain of the Queen’s Guard.

The Government is opening up combat roles to women over a phased three-year term.

From November last year, some units of the Royal Armoured Corps have been open to women. 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.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said “I have always wanted roles in our armed forces to be determined by ability, not gender.

“Women have already given exemplary service in recent conflicts, working in a variety of highly specialised and vital roles. By opening all combat roles to women, we will continue to build on these successes and improve the operational capability of our military”.

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.

Princess Patricia had special links with Buckingham Palace, the place of her birth on March 17 1886. Her father was Prince Arthur, the third son of Queen Victoria.

Source : http://www.itv.com/news/london/2017-06-26/woman-soldier-becomes-first-female-officer-to-command-troops-at-changing-of-the-guard-at-buckingham-palace/