David Sanderson was one of the eight soldiers from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards who was selected to carry the Queen’s coffin during the state funeral on Monday (19 September).
But his family did not know about his important role in the ceremony until they saw pictures of the rehearsal online.
Sanderson’s mother, Carolyn, told MailOnline that she had “no idea” because “it was all private to the army”.
It wasn’t until they were looking at photographs of the rehearsal published online and her husband Peter pointed out that one of the pallbearers looked like their 19-year-old son.
“I looked and said, ‘Of course it is!’. It’s just wonderful. I think I’ve discovered a new emotion,” she told the publication.
“Seeing him on the television going to Westminster Abbey was just amazing. I just lost it – that’s our David. They were all brilliant, I think it was perfect.”
Carolyn added that she was “beyond proud” of her son and “still can’t believe it happened”.
Sanderson, from Morpeth, joined the Army Foundation College in Harrogate after leaving school at 16.
At the age of 17, he was stationed at the regimental headquarters of the Grenadier Guards at Wellington barracks and initially joined the 2nd battalion.
He later moved to the 1st battalion, which is the Queen’s Division, as his late grandfather did, according to MailOnline.
The Grenadiers is “all [Sanderson] has ever wanted to do”, Peter said.
“His grandfather served with the Queen’s Company, joining in 1958, so David was very aware of the history of the regiment.
“But he wasn’t following in anyone’s footsteps, he’s his own man with his own ambitions and he wanted to be part of the history and prestige of the Queen’s Company.”
Peter added that his son “can’t have imagined” he would one day play such an important role in the late Queen’s funeral, but it was an achievement “he can be proud of for the rest of his life”.
Sanderson carried the lead-lined 550-lb coffin at the front right hand side. Along with the seven other soldiers, the pallbearers raised and lowered the coffin 10 times during her final journey from Westminster Hall to St George’s Chapel in Windsor.
His family said they “can’t wait to see” Sanderson when he returns on leave before his next deployment so they can tell him “how immensely proud he has made us”.
The day of the Queen’s funeral was a nationwide bank holiday. The ceremony was watched by a peak audience of 28m on the BBC, which accounted for “the majority of the UK public”.