The 1 Person Who Goes Everywhere With Queen Elizabeth — And It’s Not Prince Philip
Though she no longer travels as much as she used to, Queen Elizabeth still makes multiple journeys every year, including her annual summer holiday in Balmoral. But it’s not like the queen just packs an overnight bag, hops in her car and gets going. Like any other monarch, she has an entourage following her wherever she goes, taking care of her basic needs such as cooking, cleaning, and driving.
But not everyone on the monarchy’s payroll has such practical jobs to do. In fact, there’s one travel companion Queen Elizabeth has who technically doesn’t need to be there for the 93-year-old sovereign. However, this man travels everywhere with the queen, even to the places Prince Philip skips out on.
Queen Elizabeth has a strict morning ritual
Like many other people, the queen sticks to a strict morning schedule. When she rises in the morning, she always has a cup of Darjeeling tea, takes a bath, listens to the radio, reads the paper, and writes in her journal. These are all perfectly normal things. But there is one addition to her routine which might seem offbeat to us commoners.
Each morning at 9AM precisely, a bagpiper plays a tune directly outside Queen Elizabeth’s window for fifteen minutes. This loud wake-up call can often be overheard by others in the area. “People can hear the pipes around the estate,” a source explained to Daily Mail.
The Piper to the Sovereign goes everywhere with the queen
This prestigious role comes with a few perks, including guaranteed travel with Queen Elizabeth wherever she goes. The piper goes with the queen to all her residences in the United Kingdom except for Sandringham House. Rumor has it you’re more likely to catch the queen traveling with her piper than you are to see the Duke of Edinburgh tagging along.
It may sound like an easy job, but it does have its challenges. Former Piper to the Sovereign Gordon Webster revealed that he had to memorize more than 700 songs to play because the queen disliked hearing the same one twice.
The piper plays at the dinner table and at state banquets in addition to doing the wake-up call every morning.
Queen Victoria created the position
It’s not just Queen Elizabeth who enjoyed the benefits of a royal piper. According to legend, Queen Victoria created the role after seeing that the Marquis of Breadalbane in Scotland had his own piper.
“We have heard nothing but bagpipes since we have been in the beautiful Highlands and I’ve become so fond of it that I mean to have a piper,” she wrote in a letter to her mother. The rest is history.
Everyone wants to be a royal piper
Since the position was created in 1843, only 15 men have had the honor of holding the title and the role remains highly coveted. The only time the position sat empty was the four years during World War II and in 2015 when the piper had to resign.
Will Prince William carry on this fun tradition when he becomes king? We can only hope so!