'Duty not over': Queen's exhausted pallbearers paid one final tribute after 12hr shift

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The bearer party was highly praised throughout Monday as they carried the Queen’s 500lb lead-lined coffin on several occasions as the country and the Royal Family were bidding their final farewell. Among their duties, the pallbearers walked with the casket on their shoulders inside Westminster Abbey ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral and up the steep stairs of St George’s Chapel for the committal service.

However, they completed perhaps their most important task far from the spotlight, with only a few people witnessing their work.

On Monday evening, after the Queen’s coffin had been lowered into the Royal Vault underneath St George’s Chapel, the eight pallbearers moved the late sovereign into her final resting place next to her beloved husband of 73 years, Prince Philip. 

The pallbearers’ day likely started before 10.30am yesterday, when they were at Westminster Hall to move the Queen’s coffin on the gun carriage directed to Westminster Abbey. 

Their final task took place after the royals attended a private service started at 7.30pm, which means these guardsmen’s gruelling shift likely lasted for more than 12 hours.  

Praising their outstanding work in a comment piece for the Daily Telegraph, General The Lord Dannatt, the UK’s former Chief of the General Staff, wrote: “These young guardsmen deserve particular praise.

“Even when the cameras are switched off at the end of the day and the final private service of committal is being held at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, their duty will not be over.

“Deep in the Royal Vault under the chapel, the pallbearers will have one final unseen duty — to move the late Queen’s body to its final resting place close to her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, and to her father, King George VI.

“Once all is complete, then these young men too can relax and reflect on their very difficult job, extremely well done.”  

READ MORE: Queen is buried alongside Prince Philip in intimate family funeral

Lord Dannatt wasn’t the only person to heap praise on the pallbearers.

Many of those who watched the Queen’s funeral took to Twitter to express their admiration for the guardsmen.

TV host Piers Morgan tweeted: “These magnificent 1st Battalion Grenadier Guard pallbearers have been done their Queen and country proud. Incredible job under hugely stressful conditions.”

Russell Grant wrote on the platform: “I know people will say it’s their duty but the eight pallbearers have been perfect in every way. They each deserve a medal.” 

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Social media user James Tuckett wrote: “These lads have been impeccable throughout, an absolute credit to our forces and the crown.”

Similarly, Claire Louise added: “Never in my life have I been as proud of people I don’t know as I have these young men.” 

Some of these pallbearers, part of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, were called back from Iraq for this historic duty.  

The youngest member of the bearer party was 19-year-old Fletcher Cox, who had already carried the Queen’s casket on Wednesday during the procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall. 

The team of pallbearers was led by Company Sergeant Major Dean Jones, a married father of one. 

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