Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh


A sight you don't often see - the Royal Standard for Scotland flying above Holyroodhouse Palace, denoting that the Queen is "in the house". As is obvious, all the folk in kilts and fine hats are here for the annual Garden Party. It's a beautiful spot, at the foot of Arthur's Seat, for such an event to take place in. And note the grey Edinburgh sky; incredibly, the rain cleared off earlier in the day, and not a drop fell on us guests.


Earlier on I'd been inside the building, attending an audience where the Queen presented the 2021 Queen's Medal for Music to the Scottish trumpet player and educator John Wallace. You could probably argue that the Queen is the world's major employer of military musicians, and she certainly knows her bands, and the differences between them. Listening to HM's forensic questions, and John's insightful replies, about the brass family, I wished I could have made detailed notes about the very interesting things they were talking about; just one for instance, the role played by military and brass bands in British diplomatic soft power around the world. I hope that whoever takes over the UK government keeps these important institutions exactly where they are.

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JUDITH WEIR

Composer