Two young Australian Defence Force personnel have been selected to march alongside the newly crowned King Charles III and Queen Camilla when they make their way from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace during Saturday’s coronation procession.
CONTACT: Corporal Tegan Ross, photo by Sergeant Andrew Sleeman, and Bombardier Michael Nona, photo by Leading Aircraftwoman Emma Schwenke – rehearsing for their special duties during the King’s Coronation in the UK. Two photos digitally merged by CONTACT.
Corporal Tegan Ross, 22, and Bombardier Michael Nona, 28, will join service members from eight other realms marching on either side of the 260-year-old Gold State Coach carrying the King and Queen.
“I was shocked when I was asked to be a part of the procession,” Corporal Ross said.
“I feel proud – it’s an amazing opportunity and I’m feeling pretty excited.”
Bombardier Nona said it was a privilege to march alongside the King.
“I am a little nervous, though, when I think that the eyes of the world will be on us – I want to make Australia proud,” Bombardier Nona said.
The pair took part in their first full training session at RAF Odiham, in which a mini-van was used in place of the coach.
The coach was commissioned in 1760 and first used by King George III in 1762.
It has been used at every Coronation since that of William IV in 1831.
About 40 members of Australia’s Federation Guard will march in the Commonwealth Contingent, which will take a prominent role in the coronation procession on Saturday in London.
In all, 4000 Commonwealth and British troops will take part in the event this weekend.
They conducted a daylight dress-rehearsal at RAF Odiham last weekend, with the procession stretching for more than 1.5 kilometres.
The Australian contingent commander, Squadron Leader Mitchell Brown, said his members would do Australia proud.
“We have been training long hours at several locations across England, including Sandhurst on Saturday and RAF Odiham on Sunday,” Squadron Leader Brown said.
“We get better and better every time and I have been so impressed with the way our soldiers, sailors and aviators have stepped up for this historic occasion.”