The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland became Royal in 1944, thanks to the work of then Principal Sir Ernest Bullock.
Bullock had been organist and choirmaster at Westminster Abbey before being appointed our principal, and it was under those auspices that his connections with the royal family were established.
In 1937 he was charged with writing the fanfares and arranging the National Anthem for the coronation of King George VI, a role which he was later asked to reprise in 1953 with the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The original manuscript compositions for both coronations are now held by our archives.
The first royal patron of the institution was Queen Elizabeth the Queen Consort, later Queen Mother. She visited the institution on a number of occasions, touring the facilities and opening the new building on Renfrew Street in March 1988.
This photograph was taken during a visit to the then Academy in 1964; it’s known affectionately in the archives as ‘The Queen Mother as Banksy.’ It is a rarity in itself, as an enquirer once pointed out it was unusual to see Her Majesty at a function with her gloves off. From the very genuine smile on her face it seems clear that she enjoyed her visit to the stage and set design studios.
In 1993, when Royal Conservatoire of Scotland became the first conservatoire in the UK to gain its own degree awarding powers, the late Queen Mother as patron became the first recipient. The degree was conferred on her honoris causa in Clarence House.
Upon the Queen Mother’s death in 2002, at the age of 101, the royal patronage of the Conservatoire was transferred to her grandson, His Royal Highness the Duke of Rothesay.