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Drummer Spotted Wearing Leopard Skin During Prince Philip's Funeral

Drummer Spotted Wearing Leopard Skin During Prince Philip's Funeral

The tradition goes back to the 18th century

Amelia Ward

Amelia Ward

With the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral service aired internationally today (17 April), millions of people are watching the ceremony take place around the world.

Nothing has gone unnoticed, with the funeral planned out meticulously by the royals, but one detail has caught some viewers eyes - namely a rather snazzy leopard print get-up seen on one of the drummers in the marching band.

One Twitter user likened the uniform to a Game of Thrones scene:

But there is actually a reason for this. Traditionally, the bass drummer of Her Majesty's Royal Marine band wears an animal skin pelt while on parade.

This tradition goes back to the 18th century, when drummers who joined from other countries wore animal skins to protect the uniform from wearing out because of the large, bulky drums.

Nowadays, however, the real animal skins have been phased out in favour of synthetic versions.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson told "Tiger skins worn by Bass Drummers in the Royal Marines Band Service are taken from animals which have died of natural causes, and are never the product of hunting.

"The remaining skins are being replaced by synthetic versions as and when required."

And there is actually a set of rules as to how they are worn.

The Bands of Her Majesty's Royal Marines

According to the Regimental Drum Majors Association, the 'Animal Aprons' are worn by drummers in the Regiment or band.

One bagpiping expert says they should be worn as follows:

  • Worn with No. 1 Dress only; never in shirt sleeves, patrol jacket, Prince Charlie, or Day Jacket.
  • Some regiments allow the tenor drummers to wear a full leopard or tiger skin similar to that worn by the bass drummer.
  • Some English Line Regiments allow the side drummers to wear a full skin or an apron of the same skin as the bass drummer.

Today (17 April) the late Prince Philip becomes the 25th member of the royal family to be laid to rest in a 200-year-old Royal Vault at St George's Chapel.

The Prince Consort passed away earlier this month at the age of 99 and his funeral took place this afternoon.

His remains will be placed behind a set of iron gates around 16ft underground and will stay there until his wife Queen Elizabeth II dies.

They will both then be placed in the King George VI Memorial Chapel, Windsor, alongside George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

Other notable royals to have been buried in the Royal Vault include George III, George IV, George V of Hanover and William IV.

Queen Victoria's father Prince Edward and Queen Mary's grandfather Prince Adolphus were buried there too.

Featured Image Credit: Twitter