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Official Royal Posts: The Queen’s Piper

The Queen’s Piper principal duty is to play every weekday at 9 am for approximately 15 minutes under Her Majesty’s window when she is in residence at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Balmoral Castle or the Palace Holyroodhouse.

The piper though does not travel to Sandringham and play due to the shortage of accommodations there.

At Windsor, Balmoral and Holyroodhouse, he also pipes at Her Majesty’s dinner table. The piper is also in charge of forming the entry and exit of the 12 pipes that play around the table after State banquets.

The Queen’s Pipe is also a Honourary Page of Presence and carries out those duties when not piping.

One can read more in about The Page of Presence in The Royal W: the Page of Presence.

The Piper at Balmoral wears the Balmoral Tartan. The tartan is grey and red that was conceived by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert around 1850. Although produced in 1857, it is represented prior in an 1852 painting by Queen Victoria.

In the morning at the other Royal residences, he wears the Ancient Hunting Stewart tartan. In the evening, it is the Royal Stewart. Both tartans have gone through many incarnations dating back to 1124.

The first Monarch to have the services of the Royal Piper was Queen Victoria. After a visit to Scotland to stay with the Marquees of Breadalbane in 1842, The Queen was keen on having a personal piper for her one enjoyment. Thus in 1843, Angus MacKay became the first personal Piper to the Sovereign.

The tradition of the piper has continued to this day, except for a stoppage from 1941-1945 during World War II.

The current Queen’s Piper is Pipe Major David Rodgers from the Irish Guards.

Featured photo credit: UK in Israel via photopin cc

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