On Friday 16th September, The Prince and Princess of Wales visited Army Training Centre Pirbright, where the couple met Troops from across the Commonwealth, who have been deployed to the UK to carry out duties in the Queen’s state funeral tomorrow.
William and Catherine met soldiers from Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as senior representatives of the defence staff. There were 64 members of the Canadian Armed Forces and 28 members of the Australian Defence Force at the centre.
The Prince of Wales spoke to troops from Australia, where he said the difference between the Platinum Jubilee celebrations and the funeral preparations show ‘the highs and lows of it all’.
William also spent time with the New Zealand Defence Force, discussing how the late Monarch would be keeping an eye on Monday’s events.
Greg Gifford, one of the troops, said: ‘One of the key things I took away from what he said was how the Queen will definitely be looking down on the whole funeral service. He said she would be interested in the detail of the soldiers, how the drill is carried out, it’s precision, our dress, things like that.’
The Princess, who was speaking with Canadian military personnel, noted how ‘going from that [Platinum Jubilee] to this in a few months is very strange’. Catherine also discussed the ‘lack of sleep’ with the troops.
Corporal Kyle Kajari, of the Canadian Ceremonial Contingent, participated in the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June. He said: ‘This week we’ve been practicing parades, drills, all that jazz to make sure we are ready for the funeral this Monday. I feel very honoured and very privileged to represent my unit in the procession.’
The couple also watched a traditional haka performed by 25 troops from the New Zealand Defence Force. The Prince and Princess thanked all the troops for the roles they are playing in the funeral.
The visit to the base came a day after The Prince and Princess of Wales met mourning members of the public outside of Sandringham House.