London, UK: On Monday, for the first time in history, the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace is commanded by a Canadian Army female Infantry Officer.
Captain Megan Couto of the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, is the first female Infantry Officer to command the Queen’s Guard.
As part of Canada 150 celebrations, 80 soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry and 35 members of the Royal Canadian Artillery Band are taking part in ceremonial duties as the Queen’s Guard in the United Kingdom.
Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan said: “Congratulations to Captain Megan Couto, who made history today as the first Infantry woman to Captain the Queen’s Guard. Women have been involved in Canada’s military service for more than 100 years. The Canadian Armed Forces takes pride in being a leader in the field of equality and women’s rights. Bravo Zulu Captain Couto!”
Couto said: “I am extremely honoured to have the privilege of commanding one of the five Queen’s Guards here in the United Kingdom. Celebrating Canada 150 as part of the Queen’s Guard is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
· 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, will be Mounting the Guard from June 26 until July 3.
· Captain Megan Couto joined the military in the summer of 2010. After completing her degree at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario she was posted to the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in Shilo, Manitoba.
· The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is among world leaders in terms of the proportion of women in its military. Women can enroll in any CAF occupation, which includes operational trades, and serve in any environment. In all trades, CAF men and women are selected for training, promotions, postings and all career opportunities in exactly the same way – based on rank, qualifications and merit.
· As of May 2017, women in the Regular Force and Primary Reserve combined represent slightly more than 15 percent of the Canadian Armed Forces.