NATO Secretary General visits HMS Queen Elizabeth
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The musician, known as Piper to the Sovereign, has the honour of acting as a human alarm clock for Her Majesty, blasting tunes in earshot of the Queen’s bedroom every weekday. Piper to the Sovereign stands under the monarch’s window at Buckingham Palace, Windsor castle, Balmoral or Holyroodhouse and plays for 15 minutes, starting at 9am.
They are “responsible for playing the bagpipes whenever Her Majesty requests it”, according to Hello! Magazine.
The Royal Household position has existed since the rule of the Queen’s great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, in 1843.
Only 16 people have held the role since its inception with only two periods of inactivity – during the second world war and, more recently when Pipe Master Scott Methven stepped back from the role due to family reasons.
Mr Methven’s absence left the Queen without a morning alarm for more than five weeks.
The position is currently held by Pipe Master Richard Grisdale, from The Royal Regiment of Scotland, who took over from Mr Methven in 2019.
At the time, a Balmoral source told the Mail: “The Queen was very understanding and compassionate and agreed that Scott should stop his duties immediately.
“She totally understood his position and told him not to worry.
“It’s really strange because everyone is just so used to it and for the first few days it was really weird not to hear the sound.”
Although the position seems simple enough, former Pipe Master Gordon Webster, who served in the role from 1995-1998, told Express.co.uk that the position is in fact extremely daunting – as he had to memorise over 700 songs.
He explained: “The Queen doesn’t like you repeating the same tunes every day.”
The Queen also employs another musically inclined person who is responsible for composing Her Majesty’s own music.
The role, also referred to as: The Master of The Queen’s Music, is a largely ceremonial job nowadays with a ten-year term. However, it used to be a lifelong commitment.
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The composer has the prestigious job of composing pieces for Royal or State occasions.
Judith Weir has been the current holder of the role since 2014, making history as the first woman to hold the position.
The Queen reportedly doesn’t wake up to the sound of bagpipes though, starting her day around 7.30 am before taking a bath precisely seven inches deep.
She then changes into her first outfit but, depending on her schedule, can change up to five times a day.
Her Majesty will usually enjoy a breakfast at around 8.30am before moving to the balcony to enjoy the pipe playing which officially starts the monarch’s day.
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