Soldiers to follow in ancestors’ footsteps as coronation set to be family affair

The King’s coronation procession is set to be a family affair for some military personnel – with ancestors playing key roles in processions as far back as Charles II’s coronation in 1661.

Lieutenant Lachlan de Klee, who will be the Ensign for the Coldstream Guards, said his relatives had taken part in the past two coronations, while his ancestor the Duke of Rothes, John Leslie, carried the sword of state after the restoration of the monarchy.

“I think it’s become quite diluted now but it’s nice to have that link all the way back – but there is definitely a massive sense of pride,” he said.

Lt de Klee is due to carry the King’s Colour from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace – a flag that has all the battle honours on it and what he described as the “beating heart of the regiment”.

He said his grandfather took part in the coronation of the late Queen, and his great-grandfather participated in George VI’s coronation.

Speaking about whether he believed he would have children participate in future coronations, he joked: “I’ll have to make sure I’ve got some good to go in however many years’ time.”

Asked if he was nervous ahead of the event on May 6, Lt de Klee said: “We’ve had the excitement of doing countless other ceremonial occasions – we did the Queen’s funeral, state visits, state opening of Parliament – so nerves should be okay.

“But this one, I think, probably will top them all.”

Second Lieutenant Archie Denison-Smith is due to carry the same sword his great-grandfather carried during the 1953 coronation.

He said: “My great-grandfather joined the army in 1937, he served in the Second World War, and was an usher inside the abbey on Her Majesty’s coronation in 1953.

“He carried the sword then and I’ve got it now, so it’s a pretty special thing to be carrying on this coronation.”

A platoon commander in the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, 2nd Lt Denison Smith said his family’s affiliation with the armed forces has spanned four centuries, with an order of service for Queen Victoria’s coronation sitting at home.

Speaking after a rehearsal for the King’s coronation parade in Aldershot, Hampshire, the 24-year-old said: “It’s an opportunity to celebrate everything good with the fact that we’ve got a constitutional monarchy.

“We’re all very excited to welcome the King into the job.

“It’s a once in a generation opportunity – we’ve not seen anything like this since the last coronation so not in any of our lives. So I’m nervous, but also really excited.”

Second Lt Denison-Smith is also due to carry the King’s Colour as an ensign during the procession.

“Both my father and grandfather who are luckily still alive are both in the regiment – so I know they’re going to be glued to the television and picking up everything I get wrong.

“It’s a lot of weight on my shoulders, put it that way,” he said.