Upon her accession she became the symbolic head of the United Kingdom, the armed forces, and the Church of England.
As monarch, she was also the Company Commander of the Grenadier Guards’ Queen’s Company.
Who are the Queen’s Company Grenadier Guards?
The Grenadier Guards are an elite infantry regiment dating back to the 17th century and fulfil a ceremonial and practical function.
The are recognizable from their bright red uniforms and bearskin hats and are usually seen outside royal palaces.
The Company changes its official title in the event of a change in gender of the death of a monarch.
With the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the accession of King Charles III, the company is now known as the King’s Grenadier Guards.
The Guards were charged with guarding the Queen and her palaces, including Buckingham Palace through her reign and will perform the same fuction for King Charles.
The Queen held a personal review of the company every ten years - and they performed a final duty for the monarch by carrying the coffin at her funeral.
The coffin beareres were all six foot tall and wore rubber soled shoes to prevent slipping under the weight of the lead-lined coffin.
The Queen’s Company also oversees the transition from one monarch to the next and are responsible for guarding the late monarch in death.
The Grenadier Guards watched over the Queen’s coffin prior to her lying in state at Westminster Hall.
What is the Camp Colour of the Grenadier Guards?
The Queen’s Company Camp Colour is a regimental flag which carries the official title of The Queen’s Company Colour Royal Standard of the Regiment and is specific to the Queen.
The flag is crimson and made from silk - because of the Queen’s 70 year reign it is the oldest colour still in use in the armed forces, though it will be retired today.
When will the Queen’s Company Camp Colour be laid at her coffin?
The flag will be laid at the foot of the Queen’s coffin by the Captain of The Queen’s Company after the coffin has been placed on the catafalque at the end of the final hymn during the committal service. This will occur at around 4.30pm today.
At the same time, the Lord Chamberlain will break his Wand of Office and place it on the coffin.
The wand of office is a thin, white ceremonial staff that used to be used to discipline courtiers - they would be tapped with the wand by the Lord Chamberlain as a warning if they were being too rowdy.
The last time the wand of office was broken was at the funeral of King George VI in 1952.
These ceremonial events signifiy the end of one reign and the beginning of another as King Charles III became the King of England at the moment of his mother the Queen’s death.