CAF Story | A Musical Encounter with Queen Elizabeth II

Video / March 9, 2018


Warrant Officer Katherine Buckland:

He said: “Are you available to play for the Queen, to be her personal piper for three days?”

When I was young, my mom had suggested that I learn the bagpipes. And it wasn’t quite something I was interested in. I always saw it as her thing. I didn't want to do the same thing as my mom and, so I just wanted to be different. So, I went and it didn't take too long until I did enjoy it. So, I started to play in her Reserve Band, and when I was 16, she said: “Well, you might as well get paid for this too. Here, you sign here.”

I got a call from her secretary to Canada and he said: “Are you available to play for the Queen, to be her personal piper for three days?” A neat opportunity. “Would you be able to compose a tune for her to commemorate her upcoming Diamond Jubilee? Because if you were to do that, this could get you in to a small meeting and meet the Queen. You could take a guest.” So, it was quite the… quite an experience. I played for her for three days, while she ate her breakfast. It was a small little room and the Queen came right over to Mom and I, and she asked us about 20 questions about our uniforms. I had said to her: “This is a piece of music that I composed for your upcoming Diamond Jubilee.” And she just was floored. “Make sure this gets on the bus.” And she was adamant that this was going with her.

Warrant Officer Karen MacLean:

It was quite an overwhelming experience to be family, to be a part of that was pretty awesome.

To have Katie become the first female pipe major in the Regular Force in Canada is, for what we do, it’s pretty exciting. 

Warrant Officer Katherine Buckland:

It’s pretty neat to follow in her footsteps and today for women to still be making firsts. I think a lot of the things that I employ in my strategies at work and when I’m working with people, I have learned from my mom. Even to this day the things that she does, motivate me to do them as well.

Warrant Officer Karen MacLean:

I’m very proud of her. I’ve been in the Reserves for 32 years. I’m on the downside of my career, but Katie’s career is just ramping up and it’s just, it’s really good to see her well-established in a male-dominated trade.

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