Meet the Man Who Always Travels With the Queen
Queen Elizabeth is the most well-traveled royal in history. Since her reign began, her majesty has visited more than 120 countries around the globe. Along the way, she’s had one trusted companion with her. And no, we aren’t talking about her husband or her corgis. We’re talking about her personal bagpipe player.
The role is known officially as the “Piper to the Sovereign” and is a highly coveted job just 15 people in history have held. In the job, which started more than 175 years ago with Queen Victoria, a personal bagpipe player must wake the reigning monarch with a song at exactly 9:00 a.m. on the dot every Monday through Friday, according to Reader’s Digest. The piper must play right outside the Queen’s bedroom window for exactly 15 minutes.
According to The Daily Mail, the post is traditionally held by a serving non-commissioned officer and Pipe Major from a Scottish or Irish Regiment. Of all the 15 pipers in history, 11 of them have served during Elizabeth’s rule.
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Beyond playing a tune in the morning, the piper also works to coordinate Army pipers for state banquets. The piper also escorts the Queen to the audiences she has throughout the day.
The piper also typically travels alongside the Queen at while she is staying at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Balmoral or Holyroodhouse, according to Hello Magazine. The one place he doesn’t go is Sandringham, due to the lack of housing.
Though little is known about the role, Gordon Webster, who was the Piper to the Sovereign in the mid-‘90s, told WMUR-TV that the experience "Fantastic. Just the ultimate piping job in the world."
Though he did add that he had his work cut out for him as the Queen never wanted to hear the same thing twice.
"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."
Anything for the Queen, right?