The History Of The Haunting Tune Played As The Queen's Coffin Left St. Giles

As part of the ceremony memorializing Queen Elizabeth II, the monarch's casket was transported to St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh from Balmoral Castle where the queen died at the age of 96. A moving melody was played for the longest-reigning British monarch in history as the Queen's coffin left St. Giles after some 24 hours at rest. The song played for the queen as she departed Scotland for one final time has a deep connection to Scottish history as well as the funeral tradition of the royal family, according to The Guardian

Before Queen Elizabeth's coffin left St. Giles Cathedral, thousands of the Scottish public had gathered to pay respects to the queen. Members of the royal family held a vigil in the evening, and the Scottish head of government, Nicola Sturgeon, read from Ecclesiastes, among other aspects of the service, as USA Today reports. Crowds continued to gather to witness the queen's coffin as it made its way from St. Giles to Edinburgh airport from where it would then be flown to London. Among those who gathered was Bethany Walker who told the BBC, "It's a historic event and we want to be there. It's part of the history books." 

A lone piper played for the queen as her casket left St. Giles

As Queen Elizabeth's casket left St. Giles for one final time a lone piper played "Flowers of the Forest," according to The Guardian. With a melody based on an ancient Scottish folk song, "Flowers of the Forest" dates back to the 16th century and commemorates the defeat of King James IV and the Scottish army, as the Clan Campbell Society of North America notes. Though the original lyrics are lost, updated words were added to the music in the 18th century, and since then, the song has become a common musical accompaniment for royal funeral services, including those of Queen Victoria who died in 1901, who was a relative of Queen Elizabeth II and the second-longest reigning British monarch in history.

Footage of Queen Elizabeth's coffin departing St. Giles Cathedral in Scotland accompanied by a lone bagpiper playing "Flowers of the Forest" is available to watch on Youtube. Duncan Wilson Paisley, who spent 25 years with the Royal Highlanders attended the event and told the BBC, "She was a wonderful lady for whom everybody has the utmost respect."