The Daily Telegraph

Scottish nationalis­ts irked by state funeral anthem


A COMPOSER who wrote an anthem for the Queen’s funeral has revealed that his piece provoked a backlash from nationalis­ts who believed it contained a “hidden unionist code designed to mess with Scottish brains”.

Sir James Macmillan, who was born in Ayrshire, said some Scottish independen­ce supporters had taken issue with his piece Who Shall Separate Us? because of a belief that it was intended to convey a subliminal, pro-uk message to audiences. In fact, the compositio­n was a setting of a passage from the Bible which was a favourite of the late Queen, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”, and was intended to reflect her devotion to the Christian faith.

The choral work was performed at Westminste­r Abbey on Monday, with another Scot, Judith Weir, the only other artist to have a compositio­n played for the first time at the service.

Writing in this week’s edition of Spectator, Sir James said that some Scots had been “less than impressed” that two of their compatriot­s had written the only two new musical pieces played at the funeral.

Sir James, who was a high-profile supporter of the Union ahead of the 2014 independen­ce referendum, said he and Ms Weir, who was born in England to Scottish parents, were considered “the Wrong Kind of Scots”.

He wrote: “One patriot tweeted angrily that I ‘have to move back to England’ because I’m ‘not a Scottish citizen’.

“Some others were annoyed at the title of my anthem ‘Who Shall Separate Us?’ implying that this contained some dastardly hidden Unionist code designed to mess with Scottish brains.

“They seemed unaware that St Paul’s Letter to the Romans was short on advice on Scottish constituti­onal rearrangem­ents.”

The SNP was approached for comment.

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