Edinburgh Tattoo drummer proposes in front of 9000

Trooper William McDowell gets down on one knee to propose to girlfriend Monica McElwee at the Tattoo. Picture: SWNS

Trooper William McDowell gets down on one knee to propose to girlfriend Monica McElwee at the Tattoo. Picture: SWNS

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Love was in the air at the Edinburgh Tattoo this week as 9000 spectators cheered on a Royal Scots drummer who popped the question to his Highland dancer girlfriend.

Trooper William McDowell was beckoned into the arena shortly after the opening sequence of Thursday night’s spectacular with the stadium announcer revealing the 24-year-old had a “special question to ask”.

Flanking a lone piper at centre stage was William’s partner of two years Monica McElwee, 22, who often kick-starts the show alongside two other dancers.

“We were told to stay on and I thought I had done something wrong but when I saw him I had an idea what was going to happen,” she said.

“I couldn’t even say yes because I was too busy crying and smiling.”

To thunderous applause, Trp McDowell dropped to one knee and produced a sparkling engagement ring.

“All I got was a nod, she couldn’t quite get the words out, but it was a ‘yes’,” said William, who had a nervous 15-minute wait before taking the limelight.

“As soon as I marched on it was all a big blur and then the crowd erupted into a big cheer and I just got up and gave her a big cuddle,” Trp McDowell said.

But the lovebirds had to shake off the joyous haze almost immediately to perform at the show. Both admitted they were slightly “distracted”.

“It was quite hard to get through – my mind was wandering,” Trp McDowell said.

“I’ve wanted to propose for a while and I knew I wanted to do something different but it wasn’t until February when I found we were both performing at the Tattoo that I saw my opportunity.”

Miss McElwee, who has been Highland dancing since she was six, said the proposal was a complete surprise.

“I didn’t really think about it because I still had three dances to do but then we watched the fireworks together and it started sinking in.”

A Tattoo spokesman said: “We were thrilled to play our part in this surprise marriage proposal and hope William and Monica spend many happy years together.”

The couple plan to stage a summer wedding in 2016.