Lance Bombardier Tara Kelly’s grandmother hails from Cromane in County Kerry.
Tara Kelly’s love of horses blossomed as a child during her summer holidays in Rossbeigh where she loved riding out at Burke’s stables.
Fast forward to this week and Tara headed Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral procession riding for the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.
On Wednesday last, Lance Bombardier Tara (25) from Shepperton, Middlesex, fronted a line of over 320 military personnel from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle.
Again on Monday - the day of the queen’s burial - Tara was part of the procession down the Long Walk at Windsor as an estimated four billion people around the world watched the funeral.
It’s been a proud moment for Tara’s family, especially her Kerry grandmother, Sarah Kelly Tobin – a native of Cromane but living in Tulligmore, Killorglin.
Sarah was fixed to her television this past week watching the ceremonial events from London with a vested interest.
Seeing her granddaughter head the march was an immensely proud moment. A photograph on the front of last Thursday’s Financial Times showed Tara as the closest member of the King’s Troop regiment to the queen’s coffin.
“I was very proud watching her. She’s been so busy this week as they’ve been up every morning at 3am for rehearsals,” Sarah told The Kerryman.
"I was more nervous than she was on Wednesday. She had a giddy, rider-less horse to control as well as her own. I loved the way she gave her horse a little pat at the end of the parade. She always loved horses, even as a child,” she added.
Word from Tara all this week is that even with the long hours and tiredness, no one is dragging their feet as everyone linked to the funeral worked hard and got on with the job at hand.
In an interview with the BBC, Tara called her role a ‘massive honour’ and that it is prestigious and humbling being associated with the funeral while representing the King’s Troop.
In her four years in the army, Tara has taken part in the Platinum Jubilee celebrations and was part of the procession for the Duke of Edinburgh’s royal ceremonial funeral in April 2021.
Tara’s Kerry connection came about when Sarah moved to England in the 1960s.
She spent 36 years there where Sarah and her husband, the late Pat Kelly from County Galway, ran a pub and restaurant near Fleet Street in London. The couple have two sons living in England.
“There was no Fexco in Killorglin when I was growing up. I still go over quite often. Tara comes to Kerry around twice a year. She loves her connection and this week just proves there’s a Kerry connection to everything,” said Sarah.
“I think Charles will make a good king. Unlike his mother and grandfather, he wasn’t rushed into it. He is the best prepared for the role. It’s been a great week watching it all with my neighbours and family on television. Naturally, seeing Tara makes it that bit more special.”