The mother of one of the Queen’s pallbearers said she was ‘beyond proud’ of her son and had ‘no idea’ he would be carrying Her Majesty’s coffin until she sees pictures of the rehearsal online.
David Sanderson, from Morpeth, Northumberland, was one of eight soldiers from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards to be selected to carry the Queen’s 500-pound leaded coffin.
But David’s devotion to his solemn duty was such that he breathed not a word that he had been chosen as the bearer of his parents or his younger brother.
Instead, they only discovered his involvement when photographs of the funeral rehearsals were published by MailOnline.
His mother Carolyn spoke of her pride when she found out her 19-year-old son had been selected for such a “huge responsibility”.
She said, “I am beyond proud. It’s just been amazing. I still can’t believe this happened.
“We didn’t know anything actually because everything was private from the army. We were looking at pictures from rehearsal and my husband said it looked like our David.
Guard David Sanderson, 19, (pictured) was one of eight soldiers from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards to be selected to carry the Queen’s 500-pound lead-lined coffin
His mother Carolyn (left) spoke of her pride when she found out her 19-year-old son had been selected for a ‘huge responsibility’
‘I looked and said ‘of course it is!’ It’s just wonderful. I think I discovered a new emotion.
“To see him on TV going to Westminster Abbey was just amazing. I just lost him – he’s our David. They were all brilliant, I think it was perfect.
David attended King Edward Vl Secondary School in Morpeth before leaving at 16 to join the Army Foundation College in Harrogate.
By the age of 17 he was stationed at the Grenadier Guards Regimental Headquarters at Wellington Barracks, first joining the Second Battalion.
He then joined the first battalion, the Queen’s Division, like his late grandfather John.
His father, Peter, 56, said: “The Grenadiers were in his blood, it’s all he ever wanted to do.” His grandfather served in the Queen’s Company, which he joined in 1958, so David was very familiar with the history of the regiment.
“But he wasn’t following in anyone’s footsteps, he’s his own man with his own ambitions and he wanted to be part of the history and prestige of the Queen’s Company.
“When he came in he couldn’t imagine he would end up accomplishing this particular duty, but he has an achievement he can be proud of for the rest of his life.
Carolyn said she cried when she saw her 19-year-old son (right) carrying the Queen’s 500-pound coffin on TV
The guard grenadier and grandfather of bearer David Sanderson posing with the Queen in 1958
“I imagine when he gets back to Morpeth there will be a few people offering to buy him a drink and he deserves it, he’s made us all proud.”
“It was an incredible honor to be cast in this role, the enormity of it is hard to comprehend, but David took it in his stride and performed his duty to perfection. It’s good to hear people say they should be given an honor but I know David will just say “It was my duty” and he won’t ask for more than that.
“He will be back on leave before his next deployment and I can’t wait to see him just to say how extremely proud he has made us.”
David was positioned at the front of the right side of the coffin and, along with the other seven young soldiers, lifted and set it down no less than 10 times on its journey from Westminster Hall to St George’s Chapel in Windsor.
He was joined by compatriot Fletcher Cox, 19, from Jersey, who finished ‘top of his class’ as a cadet aged just 15 when he received the highest honor a young soldier can obtain in the Channel Islands – that of the Lieutenant Governor. medal – and gave a speech in which he said his ‘sole ambition’ was to march for the Queen.
The eight pallbearers lifted and set down the Queen’s coffin no less than 10 times on its journey from Westminster Hall to St George’s Chapel in Windsor
The group of brothers were expertly guided by Company Sergeant Major Dean Jones, an instructor at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where Prince Harry trained to become an officer. Famously, the Queen reviewed Harry when he was commissioned as an officer in the British Army in 2006 – with the two unable to hide their smiles.
The Queen’s funeral was the first state funeral since that of Sir Winston Churchill in January 1965. The pallbearers of the Grenadier Guards were all awarded the British Empire Medal for their service that day.
Now there are growing calls for the eight soldiers to also be recognized for their role in Monday’s historic funeral.
Former army chief Lord Dannatt said the MBE would be a fitting award for bearers who “embodied the professionalism of the armed forces”.
His calls were backed by MPs Dan Jarvis and Tobias Ellwood and SAS: Who Dares Wins star Ant Middleton.
Mr Ellwood, leader of the Commons Defense Committee, said: ‘Their performance was the pride of the Queen and the nation. Mr Middleton, a former special forces agent, said they ‘deserved nothing less than an MBE’.