LONDON — Visitors to Buckingham Palace who came out to see the famous Changing the Guard ceremony were given a surprise Friday.
The Queen of England gave a tip of the crown to the Queen of Soul by having her honor guard play Aretha Franklin’s song “Respect.”
The Band of the Welsh Guards, dressed in bright scarlet tunics and tall bearskin hats, belted out an upbeat, brassy rendition of Franklin’s 1967 hit in the courtyard of the palace, before the usual August throng of tourists.
Incongruous? Hardly. It was a noble gesture.
In a statement, the British Army explained, “The Band of the Welsh Guards are world famous for their musical versatility and professional performance and this morning paid tribute to another musical icon and one that has been of huge influence and inspiration to our musicians — Aretha Franklin, whose funeral was being held in Detroit 3,748 miles away, at the same time of the Queen’s Guard Change.”
Franklin, 76, died of pancreatic cancer on Aug. 16.
The military spokesman called the song “a declaration from a strong confident woman who knows that she has everything.”
The Daily Mail reported: “Buckingham Palace has on many occasions used the Changing of the Guard as an opportunity to acknowledge world events. For example, the day after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City and the capital, America's National Anthem was played during the ceremony.”