The Queen’s Canadian Pipe Majorby Capt Fraser Clark
Waking up to the strains of bagpipe music is a ritual Queen Elizabeth has enjoyed since she was a young princess. Noted for her musical ear, the Queen was listening intently on the morning of July 3 when she was serenaded at Rideau Hall by Pipe Major Katie Buckland of the Air Command Pipes and Drums of Ottawa.
Pipe Major Buckland, the CF’s only full-time female pipe major, honoured the Queen with her composition entitled “Maple Crown”, a melody she composed in honour of the 2010 Royal Tour.
“I thought it would be appropriate to compose and perform a tune for Her Majesty,” she said.“To my knowledge, I am the first Canadian female military piper who has done this.”
Following Sergeant Buckland’s performance, she presented a framed manuscript copy of her composition to the Queen.
Piping for the reigning sovereign is a tradition Queen Victoria inaugurated in 1843. Following a trip to Scotland with her husband Prince Albert, Queen Victoria became so intrigued with the people and its culture she created the most distinctive musical job in the world —Piper to the Sovereign—and appointed Angus Mackay who was the leading piping virtuoso of the day, to perform for her every morning during the breakfast hour.
Today, the responsibility as “Queen’s Piper” is given to the senior serving pipe major in the British Army. But he did not travel with Her Majesty to Canada. While Queen Elizabeth was in Ottawa, this 167-year-old tradition fell to Sgt Buckland – the Queen’s Canadian Pipe Major.