Retired swimming star Tewksbury honored to be part of delegation for Queen’s funeral

Three-time Olympic swimming medalist Mark Tewksbury said he was « very honored » to be part of the Canadian delegation at the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday.

Tewskbury, a member of the Order of Canada, was among a list of dignitaries announced by Prime Minister Trudeau on Thursday, which included actress Sandra Oh, performing artist Gregory Charles and the Cross of Valor recipient Leslie Arthur Palmer.

« It’s such an honor, I was very touched (to be invited), » Tewksbury said.

The 54-year-old said that although their ‘paths crossed many times’ he only met the late Queen once when she passed through the Athletes’ Village at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria.

« I had that famous chatty minute, » said Tewksbury, who won two gold medals each at the 1986 and 1990 Commonwealth Games. problem?’ Because I had seen her from afar, at the Commonwealth Games in 1986, and she was often in the stands and swimming. But she just had this presence. It’s so cliché, but I was suddenly mute, butterflies. He there was a presence. She obviously did her duty so incredibly well.

Tewksbury, 54, was in Manchester at a conference when the Queen died on September 8 aged 96. The Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle had delivered the keynote address to the conference four days earlier.

“So I felt sadness. And then our event was immediately canceled, because it’s royal protocol. I’m still a bit in shock, to be honest,” said Tewksbury, who had returned to Calgary after the cancellation.

Tewksbury flew to Ottawa on Thursday evening. The delegation, including former Prime Ministers Kim Campbell, Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin and Stephen Harper, several former Governors General, members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and representatives of several regiments of the Canadian Armed Forces, flew together from Ottawa Friday.

The state funeral will bring together 2,000 guests. The Queen’s coffin will be transported through the heart of historic London, from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch near Buckingham Palace on a horse-drawn carriage with King Charles III and other members of the royal family walking behind.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on September 15, 2022.


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