Alyson Krueger Tilly Bishop
More than 6,000 soldiers of the British Army took part in the hour-and-a-half procession following Queen Elizabeth's state funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday. But there was one trooper who stood out.
Tilly Bishop, a 20-year-old trumpeter, rode on her gray horse Platinum behind the royal family. She followed King Charles, his two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, and other members of the family who marched by foot. Camilla, the Queen Consort; Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales; and her children, Princess Charlotte and Prince George, were behind them in a car.
Bishop is a member of the Household Cavalry known as the King's Bodyguards. It is made up of two of the oldest and most senior regiments of the British Army. The Life Guards, a unit that originally protected Charles II, and the Blues and Royals, the army of Oliver Cromwell, both date back to the 1600s.
As the trumpeter, it was Bishop's job to sound one of six notes on her trumpet to make different commands. To be seen clearly by her fellow troops, she wore a big golden cloak, inscribed with the Queen's "ER" royal cipher, and sat on the only gray horse in the procession.
"My dad was an officer when I was young, and he pushed me to join the army because he thinks it's a good job," Bishop, who decided to join the army at the age of 16, tells PEOPLE.
Carl Court/Getty Queen Elizabeth's state funeral
A highlight of her career was performing in front of the late Queen Elizabeth in May at the 2022 Royal Windsor Horse Show. The international competition features events in show jumping, dressage, driving, and endurance and was often attended by the Queen, who was an avid horsewoman.
"She told the people next to her to shut up so she could watch," Bishop says. "We were quite excited by that."
Chris Jackson/Getty Images Queen Elizabeth at the WIndsor Horse Show on May 13, 2022
Earlier this summer, during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, Bishop was also positioned in a celebratory procession right behind the Gold State Coach, which has been used at royal coronations, jubilees and other events since 1762 and last transported Queen Elizabeth to her coronation 69 years earlier.
"Platinum, my horse, was amazing," she says. "All of our horses are named when they go from training into the regiment. Each year is a new letter. We just did W, so Platinum entered the regiment when P was the letter."
Ahead of the Queen's funeral, Bishop, who is from Windsor, visited Windsor Castle with her family, where she broke down in tears after laying flowers at the gate of the Queen's home.
Alyson Krueger Tilly Bishop
She says she was "incredibly nervous" about her role in the funeral procession, but she calmed her nerves by trying to make sure her uniform and horse were sparkling for the occasion.
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"I washed Platinum the day before, and I tried to keep him clean which is hard with a gray horse," she shares.
"So many of the parades that we do are celebrations," she adds. "This is a totally different thing."