For decades, the queen’s personal bagpiper, known as Piper to the Sovereign, acted as her personal alarm clock by playing under her window at 9 a.m. for 15 minutes at all of her official British residences.
Yet at the monarch’s funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday, Pipe Major Paul Burns of the Royal Regiment of Scotland played a different tune, the Telegraph reports.
He closed out the queen’s funeral with a rendition of the traditional piece “Sleep, Dearie, Sleep” while her coffin was lowered into the Royal Vault beneath St. George’s Chapel, CNNreports.
Burns was the one who roused the queen out of her slumber on her final day at Balmoral Castle, according to the Telegraph.
Queen Elizabeth II was a longtime fan of the bagpipes, but she is certainly not the first monarch to be captivated by Scotland’s national instrument.
The role of “Piper to the Sovereign” was established in 1843 by Queen Victoria, who became enamored with the instrument’s unique sound during a trip to the Scottish Highlands with her husband, Prince Albert. Since then, there have been 17 chief pipers.
One of them, Scott Methven — who served Queen Elizabeth between 2015 and 2019 — spoke fondly of the late monarch to the BBC last week.
“It was a pleasure as her Majesty would stand and watch you play,” he told the BBC. “She enjoyed the bagpipes, but she got to know you as a person.”
Methven also remembered a moment when the queen showed him kindness. He explained to the outlet that while he was serving her, his parents and wife died within an eight-month span.
“I was standing with the Queen and she said, ‘If you’re not here in the morning and you don’t play the bagpipes, then I know you’re away. Don’t wait to ask anyone, just go home if your family needs you because it’s family first.’”
He added: “She grabbed me by the arm again and said, ‘You know, Pipes, if anyone has a problem with that, you tell them that I said it was OK to go.’”