Inside Story

INSIDE STORY: Facts about the goat that led Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral procession

The goat is the official mascot for the Regimental Mascot of 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh, and took part in the historic proceedings on Sunday, September 11 - when Queen Elizabeth was laid to rest.

Official mascots have a regimental number and rank, and can be promoted and demoted like human soldiers – the current Shenkin is a lance corporal.

A former mascot was actually demoted after misbehaving during a parade.

However, they often outrank the soldiers themselves and can even receive a salary.

The salary goes towards his uniform, food and accommodation, which often (believe it or not) comes fitted with a radio and a sofa, according to the Royal Welsh Museum.

A goat from one of the other Royal Welsh regiments was even given up to two cigarettes a day to eat. This no longer happens.

Britain Royals
Lance Corporal Shenkin IV, the regimental mascot goat, accompanies the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Welsh regiment at the Accession Proclamation Ceremony at Cardiff Castle. | Ben Birchall/PA via AP

The Royal Welsh, and previously its predecessors, have been using goats as mascots for centuries, with the tradition dating back to 1775 during the American War of Independence.

A history of hooves

  • The National Army Museum said The Royal Welsh and its predecessor units had adopted goats as mascots since the 1770s
  • It stems from the Battle of Bunker Hill during the American War of Independence when a wild goat is said to have strayed into the battle and led the Royal Welsh Fusiliers’ colour party from the field
  • Another story said a young Welsh soldier found a kid goat during the Crimean War and kept him as a pet. While on sentry duty one night, he tucked the goat inside his coat to keep warm and fell asleep, but was alerted to the enemy’s advance when the goat bleated, giving him time to tell his fellow soldiers who were then able to repel the Russian attack
  • In 1884, Queen Victoria presented the regiment with a Kashmir goat from the royal herd, starting the tradition that continues to this day
  • All Royal Welsh goats hold a rank within the regiment

It is thought the original goat was adopted by the Royal Welsh at the Battle of Bunker Hill in the Independence War after straying onto the battle field.

Another story claims the tradition dates back to the Crimean War, when a soldier suffering from hypothermia stuffed a kid into their coat to warm up. The goat reportedly then made a noise warning him about activity from the Russian troops they were fighting.

When one goat dies, another is selected and then caught at the Great Orme in Llandudno, before going through months of rigorous training to become the new Shenkin.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button