Canadian soldier Captain Megan Couto has become the first female infantry soldier to become Captain of the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace.
The 24-year-old is taking up the role alongside her unit, The Second Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.
The group has been invited to the UK to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Canada, celebrated later this year.
Couto will be the first woman to command the Queen’s Guard in it’s 180 years at Buckingham Palace.
Women have had frontline duties in the British Army in a variety of roles, but until last July they were banned from ground close combat roles, so no female officer has served as Captain of the Queen’s Guard, until now.
However, now women are being offered combat roles over a three-year period.
Couto spoke about her pride at being made Captain of the Queen’s Guard: “Any of my peers would be absolutely delighted to be Captain of the Queen’s Guard and I’m equally honoured.”
“I’m just focusing on doing my job as best I can and staying humble.”
Before marching with her troops, Couto said she didn’t feel 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 Queen’s Foot Guards, currently have zero female soldiers in their ranks, but will be open to women for the very first time at the end of 2018.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon commented: “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”.