Wherever she was staying, late Queen Elizabeth II listened to 15 minutes of pipe music (three-holed flute played with a tabor drum) every morning. The Piper also played a final lament for the late British monarch.
The Queen’s Piper played for the Queen most mornings until she was laid to rest at St. George’s Chapel on Monday, where he played a final lament for the late British monarch.
A funeral service for Queen Elizabeth II took place on Monday at London’s Westminster Abbey — where she was also married and coronated in 1947 and 1953 respectively. The Queen died on September 8 at 96 years old, ending her unprecedented 70-year reign.
Her son, King Charles III, and other members of the royal family paid their final respects to the monarch as her coffin was taken to St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle for a smaller committal ceremony, signifying the end of her reign after the crown, scepter, and orb were removed from atop the coffin.
Pipe Major Paul Burns played a final lament, “A Salute to the Royal Fendersmith,” as the Queen’s coffin was lowered into the Royal Vault at St. George’s Chapel, where she was laid to rest with her husband Prince Philip, who died in April last year.
At the Queen’s request, the Piper to the Sovereign — a position dating back to the reign of Queen Victoria in 1843 — concluded the committal service playing “Sleep, Dearie, Sleep.”
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The royal piper, whom the monarch affectionately referred to as “Pipes,” served as somewhat of a personal alarm clock for the Queen over her decades-long reign.
In an interview with the BBC last week, Pipe Major Scott Methven, who served as the Queen’s piper from 2015 to 2019, recalled his time serving the monarch, saying “she enjoyed the bagpipes, but she got to know you as a person.”
Methven, who was the Queen’s 15th piper, said she had a “quick wit,” recalling a moment he accidentally referred to her as “Her Royal Highness.”
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“I said ‘I do beg your pardon, good afternoon Your Majesty’ and she grabbed me by the arm and said ‘Pipes, it has been 60 years since somebody called me Your Royal Highness, and I quite liked it,’” he said.
The former royal piper also remembered Elizabeth’s kindness when he lost his parents and wife while in his role, and the Queen excused him from his royal duties to mourn.
“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 need you because it’s family first,’” he said of the conversation.
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.’”
Meanwhile, a previously unseen photo of Queen Elizabeth has been released to honor the monarch on the eve of her funeral.
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The late Queen is pictured in her home at Windsor Castle in the photo, which was taken in May and shared by Buckingham Palace on Sunday. The photo was taken to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee — the first British Monarch to reach this milestone.
Wearing a blue ensemble and her signature pearls (which Kate Middleton has been recently wearing), the monarch’s blue eyes sparkle as she flashes a smile in the portrait.
It was taken by Ranald Mackechnie (who also shot the Queen’s portrait for her 90th birthday, as well as one to mark the start of a new decade in 2020).
The Queen also released a statement along with the portrait, saying;
“Thank you to everyone who has been involved in convening communities, families, neighbours and friends to mark my Platinum Jubilee, in the United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth. I know that many happy memories will be created at these festive occasions. I continue to be inspired by the goodwill shown to me, and hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved during the last seventy years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm.”
Her parents, King George VI, who died in 1952, and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, who died in 2002, as well as her sister, Princess Margaret, who also died in 2002, are all interred at the King George VI Memorial Chapel, part of St. George’s Chapel.