Sheridan graduate’s memories of the Queen
Amritpal Gill (Police Foundation ‘10) met Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle in May this year as a member of an RCMP contingent. He and his fellow officers were in England at the request of the Queen who wanted four members of the RCMP’s Musical Ride unit to escort her vehicle at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in celebration of her Platinum Jubilee as Britain’s longest reigning monarch.
Just four months later, the Queen’s passing dismayed millions across the globe. The Government of Canada held a national event to commemorate her on September 19 and Gill rode in a parade through downtown Ottawa to honour her.
“Most people only know a world with Her Majesty in it. One never thought that there’d be a certain point without her,” Gill says, saddened at the loss.
Gill holds precious a photograph of the RCMP contingent with the Queen at her private stables during his May visit. “It was a very busy schedule for her at the time. There was also the horse show but she still made time to have a photograph taken with us. We were all suited up and waited for her on our horses,” Gill says, remembering the Queen’s brisk gait as she walked up to them after getting out of a car.
“It was a very busy schedule for her (the late Queen Elizabeth II) at the time. There was also the horse show but she still made time to have a photograph taken with us.”
“She carried a cane but honestly, she hardly used it,” he said. After the contingent saluted her as the Commissioner-in-Chief of RCMP, the Queen patted each one of the horses as she talked to the officers. “It seemed she wanted to stay longer, but they kind of moved her along because of the schedule,” he says.
The Queen had a special affection for Musical Ride, and five of its officers led her funeral procession in London. The troop of up to 32 riders, who are all police officers, and their horses perform intricate formations and drills set to music, lasting about 30 minutes.
Gill joined the RCMP in 2014 where he was first deployed to Merrit, British Columbia for general duty policing. In 2018, he took a five-week training for the Musical Ride followed by a six-month training program. While the Musical Ride was suspended during the pandemic, Gill volunteered for deployment to assist with the detachment in Nunavut.
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