The Piper to the Sovereign (Scottish Gaelic: Piobair an Bhàn Righ, also known as the Queen's Piper or King's Piper) is a position in the British Royal Household in which the holder of the office is responsible for playing the bagpipes at the Sovereign's request.
The position was established in 1843 when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited the Marquess of Breadalbane at Taymouth Castle a year earlier and discovered the Marquess had his own personal piper. The Queen was taken with the idea of having one for herself, writing to her mother, the Dowager Duchess of Kent:
- We have heard nothing but bagpipes since we have been in the beautiful Highlands and I have become so fond of it that I mean to have a Piper, who can if you like it, pipe every night at Frogmore.
The office has been held continuously since then (apart from a brief interruption during World War II) and the piper's main duty is to play at 9am for 15 minutes under the Sovereign's window, and on state occasions.
The first Piper to the Sovereign was Angus MacKay, a noted collector and publisher of piobaireachd. Every subsequent piper has been a serving non-commissioned officer and experienced Pipe Major from a Scottish regiment or an Irish Regiment. While the Piper is a member of the Royal Household, he retains his military rank for the duration of the secondment.
- 1843–1854: Angus MacKay
- 1854–1891: PM William Ross, 42nd Highlanders (Black Watch)
- 1891–1910: PM James Campbell, 42nd Highlanders (Black Watch)
- 1910–1941: PM Henry Forsyth, Scots Guards
- 1941–1945: None
- 1945–1965: PM Alexander MacDonald, Scots Guards
- 1965–1973: PM Andrew Pitkeathly, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
- 1973–1980: PM David Caird, Royal Highland Fusiliers
- 1980–1995: PM Brian MacRae, Gordon Highlanders
- 1995–1998: PM Gordon Webster, Scots Guards
- 1998–2003: PM Jim Motherwell, Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
- 2003–2006: PM Jim Stout, The Highlanders, 1st Battalion
- 2006–2008: PM Alastair Cuthbertson, 1st Battalion, The Royal Scots
- 2008–2012: PM Derek Potter RVM, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
- 2012–2015: PM David Rodgers, Irish Guards
- 2015–2019: PM Scott Methven, The Royal Regiment of Scotland
- 2019–2021: PM Richard Grisdale, The Royal Regiment of Scotland
- 2021–Present PM Paul Burns, The Royal Regiment of Scotland