The ‘heartbroken’ family pays tribute to the 18-year-old Guardsman, who was found dead days after walking past the Queen’s coffin

The family of a young Guardsman who tragically died just days after playing a key role in the Queen’s funeral procession were left “heartbroken” by their loss.

Trooper Jack Burnell-Williams, 18, played a key role in the extraordinary procession that guarded Her Majesty’s coffin as he rode a majestic carriage from Westminster Abbey through Whitehall, down the Mall and past Buckingham Palace to Wellington Arch last month was carried.

But just days later, devastated mum Laura, 42, posted a picture of her son, known to his family as Jak, on horseback in his ceremonial uniform, writing in an emotional tribute on Facebook: “Never thought I would would say that, but we as a family are all heartbroken at the sudden death of our beautiful son Jak Williams yesterday.’

Trooper Burnell-Williams, who served in the Blues and Royals, is considered one of the Household Cavalry’s newest recruits. His family, from Bridgend, South Wales, are planning to release dozens of blue balloons in his memory tomorrow.

Jak’s father is said to have “fought” after the shock news. A relative at his modern three-bedroom fraternity house in the village of Brackla, near Bridgend, said: “He’s in shock. He’s struggling at the moment and he’s not thinking straight.’

Heating engineer Mr Burnell was told of the tragedy hours after the incident on Wednesday. Mr Burnell is no longer with Jak’s mother, who also lives in Bridgend.

Police and paramedics from the London Ambulance Service rushed to Hyde Park Barracks in Knightsbridge, central London, after the alarm went off at 3.48pm on Wednesday. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said they were not treating the death as suspicious.

On the day of the Queen’s funeral, the soldier’s family proudly released video footage of troops from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment attending the ceremony, saying their son was “performing his duty to the Queen on her final voyage”.

Hundreds of tributes poured in for Jak after his mother announced her son’s death.

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Trooper Jack Burnell-Williams (left and right) played a key role in the Queen’s funeral procession

Hundreds of tributes were poured in for Jak today after his mother announced the death of her son

Hundreds of tributes were poured in for Jak today after his mother announced the death of her son

Jak’s friend Molly Holmes was among those who posted on Laura’s Facebook page. She wrote: “I will miss you forever my love. Truly heartbroken.’

Jak’s sister Elisha wrote: “We will get through this together as a team. We have to make him as proud as he is of us.”

Elisha said family and friends would be releasing blue balloons in his memory at 4pm tomorrow at Bryntirion Football Club in Bridgend.

She wrote on Facebook: “Please spread the word and celebrate my boy’s life with us. Blue colors are preferred and blue balloons too.’

His aunt Jodie Danks wrote: “Such heartbreaking news. I can’t believe you’re gone. You were taken way too soon. We all love you so much my handsome nephew. You made us all so proud. Rest in peace.’

She added: “No words can express what [we as a] family go through.’

His grandmother, Anita Williams, posted her own tribute to Jak: “My darling, we miss you in so many ways.

“Your cheeky laugh and smile brightened all our days. I can’t believe you left us wondering how and why, but I know you’ll be looking down on us from the big blue sky.

‘Sleep our love, we’ll meet again.’

One well-wisher wrote: “So very sad. i am so shocked We’ve all seen the videos of him doing his duty for the Queen over the last month. Thinking of you.’

One army mum wrote: “Absolutely devastated for you as a family. It has been a pleasure to have met Jak and for our son to have spent the last two years by his side.”

Another, Tracy Fury, wrote: “I’m still reeling with this news. We talked so much about our guys in the army. My heart goes out to you and your family. You can get support and help from the military, which you probably already know. Thinking of you.’

Another friend wrote: “I’m devastated for you. Jak was an amazing young man who made not only you proud of his achievements but everyone who knew him. I’m so, so sorry, Laura.”

He was found dead at Hyde Park Barracks in Knightsbridge on Wednesday afternoon

He was found dead at Hyde Park Barracks in Knightsbridge on Wednesday afternoon

Proud mum Laura posted a series of photos of her son in ceremonial uniform during his swooning parade at Hyde Park Barracks on June 8. In June, just a month after Jak turned 18, she also released television footage of her son attending the Trooping of the Color as part of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, captioned it: “One of the proudest days of my life”. .

A keen horse rider since childhood, Jak is believed to have overcome a series of injuries to pursue his dream of joining the elite regiment, which is the second oldest in the British Army.

In addition to acting as a ceremonial guard for the monarch who is their supreme commander, the regiment also acts as a front-line armored reconnaissance unit.

Jak is believed to have attended a number of ceremonial events during the official period of mourning following the Queen’s death on September 8 – including Guarding King Charles III and senior members of the royal family as the coffin was carried in a procession by gun carriage from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey before it lay in state.

Laura wrote on September 14, “So proud to have my boy join his Queen on her final journey.”

During the September 19 funeral procession, mounted soldiers of the Household Cavalry followed behind King Charles and other senior royals, including Prince William and Prince Harry, as they walked behind the Queen’s coffin as he was driven in a gun carriage to Wellington Arch at London’s Hyde Park Corner was towed.

On the day of the funeral, Jak’s father Daniel Burnell, 41, released video footage and images of mounted Household Cavalry soldiers taking part in the procession.

“My son is doing his duty for the queen on her last voyage. So proud of you Jak Williams xx very proud dad xx,” he wrote.

During the September 19 funeral procession, mounted soldiers of the Household Cavalry followed behind King Charles and other senior royals, including Prince William and Prince Harry, as they walked behind the Queen's coffin as he was driven in a gun carriage to Wellington Arch at London's Hyde Park Corner was dragged

During the September 19 funeral procession, mounted soldiers of the Household Cavalry followed behind King Charles and other senior royals, including Prince William and Prince Harry, as they walked behind the Queen’s coffin as he was driven in a gun carriage to Wellington Arch at London’s Hyde Park Corner was dragged

The Queen's coffin being carried down the State Gun Carriage The Mall on September 19, 2022

The Queen’s coffin being carried down the State Gun Carriage The Mall on September 19, 2022

After the funeral, Laura wrote a simple message that read, “My boy…” along with a post from the Household Cavalry, explaining that since the Queen’s death, they “have been committed to honoring her life and providing an escort worthy of a global audience”.

The post continued, “We hope we’ve made the Royal Family proud and know our thoughts and prayers are with them as they continue to mourn the loss of a loved one.”

It went on to describe the experience as “one of the greatest endeavors of our lives to date.”

A friend replied: “What an incredibly lovely man Jak is! What an honor and achievement for him at his young age. You and Dan are very blessed to have such a beautiful son.’

An Army spokesman said: “It is with sadness that we confirm the death of Soldier Jack Burnell-Williams on September 28 at Hyde Park Barracks. Our thoughts are with the soldier’s family and friends at this difficult time and ask that their privacy be respected.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “An 18-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene. His next of kin have been informed.

“The death was unexpected, it was investigated and is not being treated as a suspicion. Officers will assist in preparing a report for the coroner.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11269583/Heartbroken-family-pay-tribute-Guardsman-18-dead-days-walking-Queens-coffin.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 The ‘heartbroken’ family pays tribute to the 18-year-old Guardsman, who was found dead days after walking past the Queen’s coffin

Bradford Betz

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