“It is just another day on the job,” Couto told reporters before ceremony. “But it is a pretty special one for me.”
“I know certainly for myself, it’s a great pleasure to be considered an equal of my peers, and any one of my peers would be absolutely delighted to be the captain of the guard here,” Couto said.
“So I feel equally honored to be given the opportunity regardless of my gender.”
The ceremony takes place at 11:00 a.m. sharp on any given change day, in front of Buckingham Palace in central London. Music accompanies the marches of both the old guards out and the new guards in.
The soldiers, who don iconic red tunics and tall black bearskin caps, are not just accessories to provide tourists with a photo opportunity. They are a highly skilled troop prepared to assume combat duty. Until now the honor of captain has been filled solely by men.
“Back when we were training at my home base in Shilo [Manitoba], two of the UK drill instructors that came over from the Coldstream Guards had mentioned that they’d never seen a female captain guard,” said Couto, who graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in 2014. “I was surprised.”