Updated: Aug 9, 2019
We are changing up the reel in our Grade 4 MSR - and have decided on a tune by Pipe Major John Grant; HRH Princess Elizabeth's Reel.
By the 1930’s Pipe-Major John Grant was known by reputation among the UK aristocracy which included King George V, his wife Mary of Teck, and their children. Grant was friends with Henry Forsyth, the King’s piper, and at Forsyth’s suggestion Grant was invited to a dinner at Balmoral Castle at which the Royal Family would be in attendance.
After the obligatory bagpipe concert that followed the meal, Grant had the opportunity to strike up a conversation with a 5 year old Princess Elizabeth (the current Queen). Asking her how she liked the bagpipes he was struck by her “keen interest in the various tunes,” so he decided to write her some himself.
The result was an MSR entitled “Spaidsearchd Stratspe is Righle Do A Morachd Rioghal An Bhan Phrionnsa Elasasaid,”or “March, Strathspey and Reel for Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth.” The original illuminated manuscript for the work is still housed at Balmoral Castle.“
Pipe-Major John Grant, F.S.A. (Scot), (11 August 1876 – 25 April 1961) was an amateur aficionado of The Great Highland Bagpipe who, for over fifty years, composed piobaireachd and Ceòl beag for members of the British Royal Family, important noblemen and women, and contemporary statesmen; wrote and published books on the Great Highland Bagpipe and its music; and taught students under the auspices of the Scottish Piper’s Society.