Prince of Denmark's March

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The Prince of Denmark's March (Danish: Prins Jørgens March), commonly called the Trumpet Voluntary, is a musical composition (a march) written c. 1700 by English baroque composer Jeremiah Clarke (who was the first organist of the then newly rebuilt St Paul's Cathedral).[1]


For many years the piece was attributed incorrectly to Clarke's elder and more widely known contemporary Henry Purcell. The misattribution emanated from an arrangement for organ published in the 1870s by William Spark (the town organist of Leeds, England). The arrangement was later adapted by Sir Henry Wood in his well-known arrangement for trumpet, string orchestra, and organ.

The oldest source is a collection of keyboard pieces published in 1700. A contemporary version for wind instruments also survives.[2] According to some sources,[3] the march was written in honour of Prince George of Denmark, husband of Queen Anne of Great Britain.

Clarke also composed "King William's March" in honour of Prince George's brother-in-law William III.



Popular as wedding music,[4][5][6] the march was played during the wedding of Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles at St Paul's Cathedral in 1981[4] and during the wedding of Prince Joachim of Denmark and Alexandra Manley in 1995.[7]

The march was broadcast often by the BBC Radio during World War II, especially when programming was directed to occupied Denmark, since the march symbolised a connection between those two countries. The broadcasts were introduced by the first bars of the tune voiced over by the words "Her er London. BBC sender til Danmark." ("This is London. BBC is broadcasting to Denmark.") In Denmark the march thus became strongly associated with the opposition to Nazi occupation and propaganda. It is still performed during the annual celebrations of the liberation.[8] For many years, the Trumpet Voluntary remained the European Service signature tune of the BBC World Service.[9][10]

It is the corps march, both slow and quick, of the British Army's Royal Army Chaplains' Department.[11]

A variant of the tune is used in the final chorus of John Gay's ballad opera, Polly, (premiered 1777), where the original is called 'The Temple'.

In popular culture[edit]

Peter Sellers parodied the tune in his satire on the use of "classics" by pop musicians, titled Trumpet Volunteer from his album The Best of Sellers.

The piece was used on The Colbert Report as the theme for the recurring segments Colbert Platinum (on trumpet) and Colbert Aluminum (on kazoo).

The march is used as the background music during the hourly performance of the Royal Clock in the Queen Victoria Building, Sydney, Australia.[citation needed]

The tune was sampled for the Greatest Thing Ever segment from the Cartoon Network show Mad.



  1. ^ Gerald Norris (1981) A musical gazetteer of Great Britain & Ireland p.61. David & Charles, 1981
  2. ^ Randel, Don Michael (1996). The Harvard Biographical Dictionary of Music, p. 164. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-37299-9.
  3. ^ Geoffrey Newton Sharp (1958) The Music review, Volume 19 p. W. Heffer., 1958
  4. ^ a b Dan Fox (2007) World's Greatest Wedding Music: 50 of the Most Requested Wedding Pieces p.7. Alfred Music Publishing, 2007. Retrieved January 4, 2011
  5. ^ Lefevre, Holly (2010) The Everything Wedding Checklist Book: All You Need to Remember for a Day You'll Never Forget p.127. Adams Media, 2010
  6. ^ Bride Magazine, Inc. (2003). Bride's Book of Etiquette, p. 231. New York: The Berkley Publishing Group. ISBN 0-399-52866-0.
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  11. ^ "Marches of the British Forces". Archived from the original on 12 June 2009. Retrieved 5 May 2014.


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