Ever since she came to the throne in 1952, the Queen has been woken up by the sound of the bagpipes being played to her, but for the past five weeks this tradition has come to an unexpected stop while the 92-year-old monarch has been residing in Balmoral. Her Majesty's current piper, Pipe Major Scott Methven, was forced to stop his royal duties due to family reasons. A royal source told Daily Mail that the Queen was very understanding about the situation and agreed that Scott should leave his work duties immediately. Scott was the 15th piper to hold the position, following the 175-year-old tradition, which was first introduced by the Queen's great great grandmother, Queen Victoria.
The Queen has had a bagpipe player since 1952
The Piper's job is to play every day at 9am for 15 minutes under the monarch's window while she is staying at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Balmoral or Holyroodhouse, and they are in charge of the entry and exit of 12 pipes that play at State banquets. While at Windsor, Balmoral and Holyroodhouse, the Piper also pipes at the dinner table. However, he doesn't accompany Her Majesty during her time at Sandringham, due to the lack of accommodation.
Records Queen Elizabeth has broken
The role was created by Queen Victoria after she discovered the Marquess of Breadalbane has her own piper. In a letter to her mother about the position, she wrote: "We have heard nothing but bagpipes since we have been in the beautiful Highlands and I have become so fond of it that I mean to have a Piper, who can if you like it, pipe every night at Frogmore."
Speaking about playing for the Queen to WMUR-TV, Gordon Webster, who was the Piper to the Sovereign in mid to late 1990s, said the experience was: "Fantastic. Just the ultimate piping job in the world." Opening up about the particulars of the role, he continued: "Because the Queen didn't like that you repeated tunes every other day, so I probably had about 700 or 800 tunes under my belt and they're all [in my head] because as a bagpiper you don't use music."
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