Sleep, Dearie, Sleep

Sodger,* lie doon on yer wee pickle straw,
It’s no very broad…
But, Sodger, it’s better than nothing. . .
Sleep, Sodger, sleep


The Personal Piper of Elizabeth II, Pipe Major Paul Burns, rendered his final service — a magnificent, stirring performance —  to his beloved Queen when he played the traditional Lament Sleep, Dearie, Sleep on his Great Highland Bagpipe at  Westminster Abbey, bringing to a close the majestic state funeral of the Sovereign on the 19th of September 2022.



>Paul Burns, Pipe Major of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, Queen Elizabeth’s last bagpiper. Titled officially the Personal Piper to the Sovereign. Pipes for short.

>The Sovereign’s personal “alarm clock”. HM would rouse to the 15-minute skirl of his pipes under her window most every morning at 9:00 wherever she was: Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Balmoral or Holyrood House.

>The role of the Sovereign Piper: considered one of the most prestigious in the British Armed Forces. Created in 1843 by Queen Victoria.

>Major Burns would play his bagpipes again for Elizabeth II at the committal service (service committing a body to the grave) held in St. George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

>When the Lord Chamberlain broke his Wand of Office and placed the broken stick on the Queen’s coffin, it marked the official end of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. Whereupon Major Burn did one final Lament, A Salute to the Royal Fendersmith.

>As the remains of the Queen were solemnly lowered into the Royal Vault at St. George’s, the Sovereign’s Piper slowly walked down the hallway, from the doorway between the chapel and the Dean’s Cloister, his music fading away with him. It was a most poignant tribute, a most moving, a hauntingly beautiful rendition for a Sovereign who served her Realms so well for seven decades.

>“Dearie” now “sleeps” beneath St. George’s Chapel with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince Charming love of her life who passed away just 17 months ago on 9 April 2021.


Featured image (Queen Elizabeth’s funeral wreath, Imperial State Crown, Sovereign’s Scepter, Orb placed on top of her coffin for the State Funeral and the Committal Service,19 September 2022)/Amystrei via Flickr, PD.
Bagpiper (generic image)/Michael Coghlan, CC BY-SA2.0 via Flickr, cropped