(LONDON) — A Canadian soldier made history Monday by becoming the first woman to lead the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London.
Megan Couto led her unit —the Second Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry or “The Patricia’s” — in the ceremony, an event witnesses by thousands of tourists annually.
“I’m just focusing on doing my job as best I can and staying humble,” said Couto, 24. “Any of my peers would be absolutely delighted to be captain of the queen’s guard and I’m equally honored.”
The unit was invited to Britain to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary.
The role of Mounting The Queen’s Guard usually falls to the British Army’s Household Division, which is male-dominated. Though women have served in frontline duties, they were not allowed in “ground close combat,” roles until July 2016 — and so no British woman has yet served in the role.
Britain’s government is now phasing in combat roles over the next three years.
The Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry is based in Manitoba, Canada. The unit is named after Princess Patricia of Connaught, daughter of the then Governor General of Canada.