Who are the Royal Canadian Mounted Police? Why are they called ‘mounties’ - role in Queen’s funeral explained

The Mounties will play a part in Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral

Canada’s iconic mounted mounted police force will be playing a major role in the Queen’s funeral.

Elizabeth II will be laid to rest on Monday (19 September).

The former monarch will recieve a state funeral at Westminster Abbey.

The Queen died at the age of 96 at Balmoral Castle on Thursday 8 September.

Her coffin is currently lying in state at Westminster Hall and mourners are able to queue.

The funeral will begin at 11am on Monday - and it is a bank holiday across the UK.

The Royal Family will be joined by world leaders and other dignitaries for the funeral.

Following the service, Her Majesty’s coffin will be returned to the gun carriage by the bearer party and a procession will travel to Wellington Arch at Hyde Park.

Among the participants in the procession will be the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Here is all you need to know about the “Mounties”.

Who are the Royal Canadian Mounted Police?

The RCMP are the federal and national police service in Canada.

Dating back to the 19th century, the force became known as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police after the merging of the Royal North-West Mounted Police (RNWMP) and the Dominion Police in the 1920s.

The force have become iconic for the image of its officers on horseback, with red tunic, Stetson hat, high brown boots and black horse.

RCMP are responsible for:

  • Contract and Indigenous Policing
  • Federal Policing
  • Specialized Policing Services

The police service has “ over 700 detachments in 150 communities across the country” and provides “policing services in more than 600 Indigenous communities”.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Why are they called the Mounties?

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (who are called Gendarmerie royale du Canada in French) are commonly referred to as Mounties in English speaking parts of Canada.

According to the RCMP’s official website: “The Mountie nickname dates back to 1897 at Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in London, England.

“The British newspapers coined the nickname following the first appearance of the North-West Mounted Police in red tunic on horseback.”

What are the Mounties famous for?

The Mounties, as they are commonly known, is famous for the image of its officers.

Wearing red and a stetson hat.

The Mounties began to appear in Hollywood movies as far back as the 1920s and helped to make the police force a household name.

The RCMP’s website states: “By the 1950s, more than 250 English language movies and almost as many novels featured the Mounties.

“This is where the famous catch phrase The Mountie always gets his man!, first used in an American newspaper in 1877, gained popularity.”

What role will the Mounties have in the funeral?

After the service the Queen’s coffin will be returned to the gun carriage by the bearer party and a procession will travel to Wellington Arch at Hyde Park.

The King and the royal party will take up their same places behind the coffin as when they escorted it to the Abbey, while the Queen Consort and Princess of Wales will travel to the site by car as will the Duchess of Sussex and Countess of Wessex.

The route will be lined by the Armed Forces from Westminster Abbey to the top of Constitution Hill at the Commonwealth Memorial Gates.

The Procession is formed of seven groups, each supported by a service band. Mounties from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police will lead, immediately followed by representatives of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, NHS, along with detachments from the Armed Forces of the Commonwealth.

At Wellington Arch the royal family will watch as the Queen’s coffin is transferred to the new state hearse, whose details the Queen approved, before it begins its journey to Windsor Castle.