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I Got A Kiss Of The King's Hand

I Got A Kiss Of The King's Hand has at least three stories about its origin, which is attributed to Padruig Mor MacCrimmon.

 

As Haddow has it, Roderick MacLeod of Talisker and his brother Norman MacLeod of Bernera raised 1,000 men to fight for Charles II * against Cromwell. Prior to the Battle of Worcester, 1651, Padruig Mor was invited to play before the King and afterwards was given the honour of kissing the King's hand. The story goes on to say that Padruig composed the piobaireachd we know today as I Got a Kiss of the King's Hand but makes no suggestion that the tune was composed on the spot.

 

There is also a story that is well-told elsewhere about the King of Pipers being John MacGurmen of Sutherland. However, there is no record of a well-known piping family named MacGurmen in Sutherland or elsewhere. The question arises whether the author of the tale erred by referring to MacCrimmon as MacGurman or whether a Gaelic name was translated improperly into English.

 

There is a MacLeod story about the tune that is less often told. Padruig Mor fought with the Royalist forces at Worcester in 1651, a battle in which the Dunvegan MacLeod's lost 800 men. By some miracle, Padruig survived; he was taken prisoner and later released. Following the Restoration of the Monarchy, Padruig attended at the Royal Court in London with two sons of Sir Ruaridh Mor, Ruaridh MacLeod of Talisker and Norman MacLeod of Bernera, both of whom were there to be knighted by King Charles II. It was at this time that the King extended his hand for Padruig to kiss. Padruig subsequently composed the piobaireachd to commemorate the event. Not as romantic as the other stories but as likely to be true.

 

It may never be known which story is true. What matters most is that the stories illuminate the important status of pipers who served Highland Chieftains in the 17th century.

 

* Charles had been crowned as King of Scots at Scone in 1651 but the English Parliament under Cromwell did not recognize him as King of England. He was eventually crowned King of Britain in 1661.

 

Exit I Got A Kiss Of The King's Hand and return to the General Piobaireachd Stories

 

 


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