As we watch the ceremonies surrounding the farewell to Queen Elizabeth, we may wonder about the young men carrying her casket—the pallbearers– through the streets of London and to Westminster Hall where her body will lie in state. What an honor that must be for them and their families.
We don’t know a lot about them and must continue to wonder who they are and how they were chosen, but we do know quite a bit about one young soldier from Fiji who was selected as one of the Queen’s pallbearers in the Edinburgh ceremony.
Ben Tubuna was seen helping carry the coffin outside the Palace of Holyroodhouse as it entered St Giles’ Cathedral. Tubuna, from the Rewa province, lives in Inverness and is part of the Royal Regiment in Edinburgh. The 21-year-old, acknowledged the privilege he had been given to be a part of the momentous occasion, he told the Fiji Times: “I felt blessed that being a Fijian, I was given such an important task. “But I accepted it with humility because this is my job – it is a role I have to fulfil as a soldier.”
Ben Tubuna’s father, Semi Tubuna, is even more proud and has told FBC News: “‘I was so happy and excited to find out that he was chosen to be a pallbearer. I’m touched that he is not only doing his family proud but his country.
“What’s amazing about this is the fact there are thousands of soldiers and he is one of a handful to be selected.”
The selection of Tubuna inspired national Fijian pride, with native MP Ro Teimumu Vuikaba Kepa saying: “You’ve done us at home proud.”
The funeral is being held at Westminster Abbey, the iconic church in which Britain’s kings and queens are crowned. It is the site where Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in 1953 and where she married Prince Philip 75 years ago.