Soldier reflects on final display of ‘ER’ uniform

·3-min read

A soldier has described how she will wear the “ER” royal cypher for the last time when she participates in the Queen’s funeral procession.

Trooper Tilly Bishop, a trumpeter from The Life Guards regiment, which is part of the Household Cavalry, said that she laid flowers in Windsor with her family after the death of the Queen.

After visiting the Berkshire castle she said she had a “little bit of an emotional breakdown”.

And she said she sometimes stumbles on the new words to the national anthem.

Trooper Tilly Bishop
Trooper Tilly Bishop, a trumpeter from The Life Guards regiment, will be in the Queen’s funeral procession (Ella Pickover/PA)

Trooper Bishop, from Windsor, said she feels “honoured” to participate in the funeral but appreciates it will be the last moment to that her Trumpeter’s gold kit will be branded with the “ER” royal cypher, which stands for Elizabeth Regina.

A royal cypher is unique to each monarch and the new cypher will read CR – Charles Rex.

Trooper Bishop, who will be riding her grey horse Platinum, has previously ridden in the Queen’s Birthday Parade and Jubilee Pageant.

The 20-year-old will be wearing a gold coat and riding the only grey horse in the procession behind the royal cars.

The royal cars will be behind the gun carriage carrying the Queen’s coffin.

She said she was “incredibly nervous” about her role in the procession.

Trooper Bishop added: “So many of the parades that we do are celebration, and this is a totally different thing.

“We are celebrating the Queen’s life, but it is emotional.”

Funeral route graphic
(PA Graphics)

She added: “I’m also incredibly proud to be part of it.

“The Queen was such an amazing person that being part of something like this is just overwhelming.”

Trooper Bishop is normally stationed in Windsor and visited the castle with family to lay flowers at the weekend.

“I went up to Windsor castle with my family on Sunday and we went and put some flowers down and that’s when it hit me and I went home and had a little bit of an emotional breakdown.

“It’s hard to process really because she was such a massive part of our lives.

“Changing the National Anthem to ‘King’, it still hits me sometimes, and I keep saying the wrong thing, but we’ll get there. It’s amazing that we got to work for her.”

On the change of the royal cypher, she added: “It is on our gold coat, which is what I am wearing today – at the moment it says ER, but it will be changing to CR straight after the funeral.

“It’s really strange, for my whole career it has been ER and everything has been ER and so much of our uniform will be changing from the Queen’s crown to the King’s.”

She will be paying the Royal Salute as the mounted soldiers leave and enter Hyde Park Barracks.

Corporal of Horse William Morrison, Master Tailor, from Aberdeen, described how he joined the tailoring services of the Household Cavalry after a back injury.

He has spent the last 10 days preparing ceremonial uniforms of the Blues and Royals and the Life Guards, the regiments of the Household Cavalry, for the procession.

The 35-year-old described how he met the Queen, who remembered his grandfather Sir Rex Hodges.

“I had quite a bad back injury – a combination of lifting weights incorrectly and doing a lot of vigorous horse riding – so could no longer do the role of a fighting solider or ride horses very well so I tried my hand at tailoring,” he said.

“All of the traditions and knowledge that you learn, it has been really good to be a part of it.

“In 2012 I won a competition called the Princess Elizabeth cup which is awarded for the best turned out trooper, and the Queen presented me with that cup.

“She said that she remembered my grandfather from the war – he was chairman of Mersey Docks and Harbour Board during the war.”