Queen Elizabeth Funeral: How The Queen's Piper Helped Lay Her to Rest

Queen Elizabeth Funeral: How The Queen's Piper Helped Lay Her to Rest
·2 min read

Pipe Major Paul Burns, the same man who played the pipes for Queen Elizabeth II each morning, helped lay her to rest Monday performing a moving final piece at the former monarch's committal service at St. George's Chapel.

Just after Queen Elizabeth’s coffin was lowered into the royal vault beneath the chapel, the sovereign's piper played a final lament, "A Salute to the Royal Fendersmith," from the doorway between the chapel and the Dean's Cloister. He slowly walked down the hallway with his music fading away with him.

Burns acted as the queen's piper for years, a role that a former piper told the BBC involved playing every morning for 15 minutes whether she was in residence at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Balmoral Castle or the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

The history of the royal's piper dates back to Queen Victoria when she and Prince Albert visited the Scottish Highlands in 1842, according to the annual publication Folk Music Journal. Victoria was "so delighted" by the bagpipes she heard that she wrote to her mother, the Duchess of Kent, saying they must have a piper at their residence.

On July 25, 1843, the first piper to the royal family, Angus Mackay, was sworn into the role.

Piper plays at Queen Elizabeth II's funeral (Phil Noble / WPA Pool / Getty Images)
Piper plays at Queen Elizabeth II's funeral (Phil Noble / WPA Pool / Getty Images)

Former Pipe Major Scott Methven was the queen's musician between 2015 and 2019, and remembered the monarch for her clever one-liners and caring nature.

“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.”

Burns is the 17th piper to the queen and currently serves as the Royal Regiment of Scotland. He was Queen Elizabeth's Pipe Major up until her death on Sept. 8, 2022.

After a more than 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth was laid to rest at a state funeral on Monday, which marked a bank holiday in the U.K. and the conclusion of the official mourning period. Burns' final number during the service at Windsor Castle wasn’t his only performance Monday. He also played at the end of the services at Westminster Abbey.

Piper plays during Queen Elizabeth II's funeral (Phil Noble / WPA Pool / Getty Images)
Piper plays during Queen Elizabeth II's funeral (Phil Noble / WPA Pool / Getty Images)

This article was originally published on TODAY.com