First girl choristers welcomed into Windsor chapel choir in its 674-year history

26 April 2022, 15:00

First girl choristers welcomed into Windsor chapel choir in its 674-year history. Picture: SWNS/Alamy

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

A choir that has been in existence since 1348 has just accepted its first two female choristers – Julia and Lucy, both nine years of age.

Two girl choristers have made history at the Choir of St George’s Chapel in Windsor, which for 674 years has only accepted boy choristers.

The choir, based at Windsor Castle, regularly sings for The Queen and has just gone mixed for the first time.

Julia Johnson and Lucy Howe, both Year 4 pupils at St George’s School Windsor Castle, became the first female choristers to join the choir.

The nine-year-olds will take part in daily rehearsals and live in the school’s boarding house during the week.

William Goldsmith, Head of St George’s School Windsor Castle, said: “We are tremendously proud of our long-standing tradition of educating and housing the choristers of St George’s Chapel.

“To be able to offer this opportunity to everybody at the school, regardless of gender, is very much aligned to our philosophy of valuing all students and recognising that each child has his or her own unique contribution to make to the life of our community and to global society as a whole.”

Read more: Girl choristers now outnumber boys in English cathedrals for first time in history

The Choir of St George’s Chapel is formed of up to 23 choristers, who are usually auditioned between the ages of seven and nine. Choristers receive musical tuition from the Chapel Director of Music, Assistant Director of Music and the Organ Scholar, have regular singing lessons, and additional music theory lessons at school.

Founded in 1348, the choir sings regularly in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen and other members of the Royal family.

The young voices were heard by a televised audience of two billion at the wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as well as at the wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank in 2018.

Julia and Lucy’s history-making appointments follow the decision, announced by the Dean and Canons of Windsor in January and supported by The Queen, to allow girls and boys to sing side by side in the choir, for the first time in history.

Julia Johnson and Lucy Howe are both Year 4 pupils at St George’s School Windsor Castle. Picture: SWNS

St George’s Chapel follows in the footsteps of other church, chapel and cathedral choirs including Salisbury Cathedral, which 31 years ago became the first Church of England cathedral to admit girls on parity with boy choristers.