Who are the Royal Canadian Mounted Police? Why are they called ‘mounties’ - role in King’s coronation

The Mounties will play a part in the coronation of Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla

Canada’s iconic mounted mounted police force will be playing a major role in coronation in May.

King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla will be crowned on Saturday (6 May). The monarchs will head to Westminster Abbey to be coronated.

The coronation will be a bank holiday weekend for residents across the United Kingdom. During the weekend there will be a concert, street parties and a day of volunteering.

Charles III became monarch following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II in September last year. The coronation will take place on 6 May and the service will begin at 11am.

Plans have been announced for the event in London, including the route the monarchs will take - and the vehicles they will travel in. The British armed forces, as well as units from across the commonwealth, will be playing a role in the ceremony.

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

The Mounties will be playing a role in the slimmed-down ceremony on 6 May. The Globe and Mail reports that RCMP riders will accompany the Household Cavalry in the procession from Westminster Abbey back to Buckingham Palace.

King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla will take a much shorter journey, compared to the multi-hour journey that Queen Elizabeth travelled in 1953.

Corporal Kim Chamberland, an RCMP spokesperson said: “While plans are still evolving, we can confirm that an RCMP mounted contingent, similar in size to the one that took part in the funeral procession for Queen Elizabeth, is being planned for the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III.”