Watch Penny Lancaster policing the crowds in London. Video: Courtesy of @AlexToms3
Former model Penny Lancaster has been helping to police the Queen’s funeral procession on the streets of central London.
The TV presenter, who is married to Sir Rod Stewart, completed her training to become a special police constable for City of London Police in April 2021.
She described working as a special police constable during the funeral as “the biggest honour.”
She was seen making her way through busy crowds in the area surrounding Westminster and Buckingham Palace on Monday while wearing the red and white chequered sleeve and cap bands of the force.
The TV presenter and former model, who is married to Sir Rod Stewart, was one of the 15,000 police officers working the funeral procession in London on Monday.
Special Constable Lancaster, who joined City of London Police in April 2021, manned the barriers near Queen Victoria’s Memorial where she made sure the public remained safe during the procession and offered advice to them about exiting the Mall as part of her duties.
“This is the biggest honour of all, to be able to serve today on Her Majesty the Queen’s funeral," she said.
“We were in uniform by 5am this morning and we don’t know what time we will be working until. We just want to make sure that all the crowds get home safely.
“Today has been quite a long shift, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”
Special Constable Lancaster said she was “very honoured” to be positioned so close to the procession on London’s Mall, where she was seen gazing at the Queen’s coffin as it passed by her.
“Leading up to that moment, it’s been a very emotional few days,” she said. “In that moment, our priority is to be aware of the crowd and the potential dangers and risks on an event like today.
“So the focus is mostly on my duty, but also (it was) a wonderful opportunity and very honoured to be here to pay respects at the same time.”
She added that she felt “extremely sad” when she heard that the Queen had died.
She had met the Queen, and the new King, on a number of occasions when her husband Sir Rod performed for them and during charity events throughout the years.
“It sort of hit in waves,” she said. “I think it was just such a shock, it took a while for it to sink in.
“An incredible woman the Queen was, I think everyone utters the same sentiments. I had the pleasure of meeting her on a few occasions and you sensed her presence before you saw her.
“Whatever nerves you had, she instantly put you at ease with that twinkle in her eye, her warm smile, she kind of felt like anyone’s grandma. She was just incredible woman.”
Special Constable Lancaster volunteers about 200 hours a year in the force, which works out to around one shift a week. She began volunteering with the force after appearing in the Channel 4 show Famous And Fighting Crime, in which celebrities swapped their day jobs with those of emergency service professionals.
Her previous jobs have included working at RAF Northolt, where the Queen’s coffin arrived from Scotland last week before it was taken to Buckingham Palace.
Describing her favourite aspect of the job, she said: “I think victims are at the centre of what police do.
“I think a lot of people think of the criminals but in fact, where there’s a crime, there’s a victim, and for me personally that’s where my heart is.
“I love interacting with the public and engaging positively with them. At the end of the day, policing is having the public’s consent. It’s so important to have that engagement and rapport between police and the public.”
In November last year, Sir Rod spoke about her move on The Graham Norton Show, saying: “She trained for eight months, and she loves it. I backed her all the way.
“She says she loves giving something back, but more importantly she wants to protect the city she loves.”
The Queen’s funeral marks the conclusion of what is being regarded as the biggest security operation the UK has ever seen, outstripping the London 2012 Olympics which saw up to 10,000 police officers on duty per day.
Last week, she recalled fond memories of dancing with the King on his 60th birthday during an appearance on Good Morning Britain.
Sir Rod and Lancaster have been married since 2007.
Sharon Osbourne joined the line on Wednesday, telling ITV News "it was just wonderful to have her."
Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid, 51, attended the historic event on Thursday with her mother Sue, and said she had “experienced a moment in history”.
Detailing her experience on Twitter, she said: “Evening – along with my lovely mum and her very good friend, I have just experienced a moment in history – witnessing the Queen lying in state in Westminster Hall. At once majestic and peaceful.”
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