^

Entertainment

The Queen’s piper

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil - The Philippine Star
The Queenâs piper
In Queen Elizabeth II’s case, the piper played under her window at 9 every morning throughout her reign. This was so no matter where she was staying in the UK and also during important state occasions. It was therefore only fitting that just as her Piper woke her up every morning, he would also have the privilege of sending her off to her eternal rest. So, Pipe Major Paul Burns played the lament Sleep Dearie Sleep to close the vigil at Westminster Abbey.
Photos from the Royal Family’s official Twitter account

Queen Elizabeth II’s resting place is in the King George VI Memorial Chapel in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle alongside her family. It is the site that she is said to have personally selected after she eschewed the traditional tomb topped with a stone effigy traditionally favored by royalty when King George VI passed away in 1956. Now she is finally together with her father, Queen Mother Elizabeth, sister Princess Margaret and her husband Prince Philip.

Before this came about though there was the Committal Service held in the same place. After the show of spectacular pomp and pageantry of the past few days, this was a simple rite meant to send off the Queen with prayers and blessings to the great beyond. It was simple, somber, almost quiet and it brought about the most touching, poignant, memorable moments of the funereal.

The choir of the St. George’s Chapel sang beautifully. The Dean of Windsor conducted the service and the Archbishop of Canterbury gave the blessing. After this, the Dean took the Imperial State Crown, the orb and the scepter from the top of the coffin. Symbolically, it meant that it was the last time that the marks of her office would be “worn” by the Queen. She had to be divested of those as she was going to meet her Maker as a simple Christian soul.

The Dean placed the jewels on the high altar. They would be passed on to King Charles III on his coronation. Then, the Lord Chamberlain, who is the most senior official of the Royal Household, broke his wand of office and placed the halves on the coffin. It was a gesture symbolic of the end of his service. The late Queen was now ready to descend into the royal vault. And then, there came PM Paul Burns with his bagpipe.

The bagpipe belongs to the family of woodwind instruments. Unlike most of those though, like the clarinet, the oboe, etc., it is played with air stored in a bag. The origin is said to be European but it is now considered native to Scotland. Music from the bagpipe can either be happy or sad. The musical Riverdance danced to bagpipes, but Mel Gibson waged a losing war in Braveheart to the sound of mournful pipes. Paul McCartney’s take is lilting with a rock flavor in the hit song Mull of Kintyre. Queen Elizabeth II also loved the sound of the bagpipe and had her own piper.

It was Queen Victoria who started the tradition of the Queen’s Piper in 1843. She so enjoyed being serenaded by a piper during a visit to Scotland with her husband Prince Albert that she created the office of the Piper to the Sovereign. Since then, a personal piper from the Royal Regiment of Scotland has played for the reigning monarchs every day. The position is a prestigious one and there have been 17 pipers since.

In Queen Elizabeth II’s case, the piper played under her window at 9 every morning throughout her reign. This was so no matter where she was staying in the UK and also during important state occasions. The piper was like a special alarm clock that could play for 15 minutes. It was therefore only fitting that just as her Piper woke her up every morning, he would also have the privilege of sending her off to her eternal rest. So, Pipe Major Paul Burns played the lament Sleep Dearie Sleep to close the vigil at Westminster Abbey.

The lament is like a dirge, a mournful song that tells stories of great loss that is also often sung as a lullaby. That afternoon, as the coffin began its descent into the vault, Major Burns started playing A Salute to the Royal Fendersmith, which was also picked out by the Queen.

Burns cut a sad solitary figure as he stood in the doorway between the chapel and the cloister walk. Then as he played, he slowly walked backwards and backwards, his music becoming fainter and fainter until just as the coffin disappeared into the vault, the piper was also heard no more.

Sleep, dear Elizabeth, sleep in peace.

QUEEN ELIZABETH II

Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Recommended
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with