MILITARY representatives from 33 Commonwealth nations and six British Overseas Territories were thanked for representing their countries at the coronation and presented with a commemorative coin at the Army Training Centre, Pirbright, on Thursday.

They were at Pirbright to complete rehearsals for their part in the coronation procession, accompanying Their Majesties The King and Queen from Westminster Abbey through the streets of central London.

The Household Cavalry Mounted Band and The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery were to lead the procession, followed by 400 service personnel from the Armed Forces of the Commonwealth, flanked by 114 Guardsmen of the Household Division carrying Realm and Commonwealth flags. 

“Pirbright has been used for the coronations in 1937 and 1953 as a camp where the Commonwealth soldiers can acclimatise and train,” said an Army spokesperson. “It is perfectly suited to accommodate military personnel for training purposes.

“This was a military event to enable the defence attaches and representatives from embassies to meet with their military personnel who have travelled to represent their countries.”

The thanks to the Commonwealth troops was delivered by the chiefs of the defence staff, not directly from His Majesty The King.

In thanking the Commonwealth troops, Maj Gen Eldon Millar said: “I think what you have done as a cohort over a very short period of time, coming in from so many different countries, to come together in this group has been quite extraordinary.

“I wanted to take this opportunity along with Lord Lancaster and Air Vice Marshall Smeath representing the chiefs of the defence staff to say a huge thank you for all your efforts over the past few days.”

The personnel on parade were accompanied by the Band of The Royal Regiment of Scotland Highland and Lowland Bands and 126 flag bearers from the Footguards with flags representing the countries of the Commonwealth and Overseas Territories.

“The service personnel are here for about 10 days, which gives them time to acclimatise and then to work on the rehearsals,” the spokesperson added.

''It’s hard work because each nation can have its own drill style, which they have agreed to adapt to the British style for the coronation. 

“We’ve even had individual drill instructors flying over here to attend what is effectively a drill course, so they can go back home and begin to teach their own military to give them a head start.”

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 56 independent countries, almost all formerly under British rule.

The 1949 London Declaration recognised King George VI as Head of the Commonwealth, and following his death, the Commonwealth leaders recognised Queen Elizabeth II in that capacity.

Although the role of Head of the Commonwealth is not hereditary, talks involving Commonwealth leaders in 2018 led to a unanimous decision that, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, His Majesty The King would become Head of the Commonwealth.