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Windsor Castle


Going to Windsor is always a beautiful day out. My trip to the Investiture held there this week was a particular thrill, allowing our party the most unusual experience of driving up the Long Walk to the Castle gates (pictured). When we got there there were quite a few armed police pointing machine guns at us, but in a friendly and welcoming way, we presumed.

 

From memory, this Investiture ceremony was more elegant but also relaxed than the previous one I can remember attending in Buckingham Palace, almost thirty years ago. We followed a carefully choreographed route through various magnificent rooms before emerging eventually at the actual presentation by the King. The easy atmosphere suggested to me that some staples of British heritage have gradually modernised themselves without our noticing it.

 

Over the years, musician friends attending Investiture ceremonies have sometime ruefully reported on the jaunty military band music that used to accompany these events. It's not actually a very easy job - you have to keep the volume down considerably, for hours at a time. But again I can report an uplift in the musical atmosphere, thanks to sensitive playing during our throne room time by the Countess of Wessex's String Orchestra; still soldiers, but some fine string players amongst them. After my visit, I enjoyed reading the Royal Corps of Army Music pages, whose basic message is along the lines of "Join the army and play the viola". In difficult musical times elsewhere, it's going to be an increasingly recommendable option for young instrumentalists.

 

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JUDITH WEIR

Composer

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