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"God Save the Queen"
Publication of an early version in The Gentleman's Magazine, 15 October 1745. The title, on the Contents page, is given as "God save our lord the king: A new song set for two voices".
National and
Royal anthem of

 Australia (royal)
 Canada (royal)
 Jamaica (royal)
 Bahamas (royal)
 Barbados (royal)
 Tuvalu (royal)
 Gibraltar (royal)
 Norfolk Island (national)
 New Zealand
 Barbados (Royal)
 United Kingdom
Also known as "God Save the King"
(when the monarch is male)
Lyrics Author unknown
Music Composer unknown
Music sample
God Save the Queen (instrumental)

"God Save the Queen", (alternatively "God Save the King"), is an anthem used in a number of Commonwealth realms. It is the national anthem of the United Kingdom and its territories and dependencies, Norfolk Island, one of the two national anthems of the Cayman Islands and New Zealand (since 1977) and the royal anthem of Canada (since 1980), Australia (since 1984), Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, Jamaica, and Tuvalu. In countries not previously part of the British Empire, the tune of "God Save the Queen" has also been used as the basis for different patriotic songs, though still generally connected with royal ceremony. The authorship of the song is unknown, and beyond its first verse, which is consistent, it has many historic and extant versions: Since its first publication, different verses have been added and taken away and, even today, different publications include various selections of verses in various orders.[1] In general only one, or sometimes two verses are sung, but on rare occasions three.[2]

In the UK, the sovereign and his or her consort are saluted with the entire anthem, while other members of the royal family who are entitled to royal salute (such as the Prince of Wales) receive just the first six bars. The first six bars also form all or part of the Vice Regal Salute in some Commonwealth realms outside the UK (e.g., in Canada, governors general and lieutenant governors are saluted with the first six bars of "God Save the Queen", followed by the first four and last four bars of "O Canada"), as well as the salute given to governors of British overseas territories. The words of the song, like its title, are adapted to the gender of monarch, with "King" replacing "Queen", "he" replacing "she", and so forth, when a king reigns. In the UK, the last line of the third verse is also changed (see below).



In The Oxford Companion to Music, Percy Scholes devotes about four pages to this subject,[3] pointing out the similarities to an early plainsong melody, although the rhythm is very distinctly that of a galliard, and he gives examples of several such dance tunes that bear a striking resemblance to "God Save the King/Queen". Scholes quotes a keyboard piece by Dr. John Bull (1619) which has some similarities to the modern tune, depending on the placing of accidentals which at that time were unwritten in certain cases and left to the discretion of the player (see musica ficta). He also points to several pieces by Henry Purcell, one of which includes the opening notes of the modern tune, set to the words "God Save The King". Nineteenth century scholars and commentators mention the widespread belief that an old Scots carol, "Remember O Thou Man" was the source of the tune.[4][5]

The first definitive published version of the present tune appeared in 1744 in Thesaurus Musicus, as a setting of the familiar first verse, and the song was popularised in Scotland and England the following year, with the landing of Charles Edward Stuart. It was recorded as being sung in London theatres in 1745, with, for example, Thomas Arne writing a setting of the tune for the Drury Lane Theatre.

Scholes' analysis includes mention of "untenable" and "doubtful" claims, as well as "an American misattribution". Some of these are:

  • The French Marquise de Créquy wrote in her book "Souvenirs", that the tune Grand Dieu Sauve Le Roi, was written by Marc-Antoine Charpentier to celebrate the healing of Louis XIV's anal fistula.[6] Lully set words by the Duchess of Brinon to music, and the tune was plagiarised by Händel. Translated in Latin under the name Domine, Salvum Fac Regem, it became the French anthem until 1792.[7] After the Battle of Culloden, the Hanover dynasty would have adopted this melody as the British anthem. Scholes points out gross errors of date which render these claims untenable, and they have been ascribed to a 19th-century forgery, the Souvenirs of the Marquise de Créquy.[8]
  • James Oswald: He is a possible author of the Thesaurus Musicus, so may have played a part in the history of the song, but is not a strong enough candidate to be cited as the composer of the tune.
  • Dr. Henry Carey: Scholes refutes this attribution, firstly, on the grounds that Carey himself never made such a claim. Secondly, when the claim was made by Carey's son (as late as 1795), it was accompanied by a request for a pension from the British Government on that score. Thirdly, the younger Carey claimed that his father had written parts of it in 1745, even though the older Carey had died in 1743. It has also been claimed that the work was first publicly performed by Carey during a dinner in 1740 in honour of Admiral Edward "Grog" Vernon, who had captured the Spanish harbour of Porto Bello (then in Colombia, now Panama) during the War of Jenkins' Ear.

Scholes recommends the attribution "traditional" or "traditional; earliest known version by John Bull (1562–1628)". The English Hymnal (musical editor Ralph Vaughan Williams) gives no attribution, stating merely "17th or 18th cent."[9]

Use in the United Kingdom

The phrase "God Save the King" long predates the song and as seen in this poster from World War I it remains a rallying cry to the support of the monarch and the nation's forces.

"God Save the Queen" is the national anthem of the United Kingdom. Like many aspects of British constitutional life, its official status derives from custom and use, not from Royal Proclamation or Act of Parliament. In general only one or two verses are sung, but on rare occasions three.[2] The variation in the United Kingdom of the lyrics to "God Save the Queen" is the oldest amongst those currently used, and forms the basis on which all other versions used throughout the Commonwealth are formed; though, again, the words have varied throughout the years.

England has no official national anthem of its own; "God Save the Queen" is treated as the English national anthem when England is represented at sporting events (though there are some exceptions to this rule). There is a movement to establish an English national anthem, with Blake's "Jerusalem" and Elgar's "Land of Hope and Glory" among the top contenders. Scotland and Wales have their own anthems for political and national events and for use at international football, rugby union and other sports in which those nations compete independently.[10] On all occasions Wales' national anthem is "Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau" (Land of my Fathers). Scotland has no single anthem; "Scotland the Brave" was traditionally used until the 1990s, when "Flower of Scotland" was then adopted. In Northern Ireland, "God Save the Queen" is still used as the official anthem.

Since 2003, God Save the Queen, considered an all inclusive Anthem for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as well as other countries within the Commonwealth, has been dropped from the Commonwealth Games. Northern Irish athletes receive their gold medals to the tune of the "Londonderry Air", popularly known as "Danny Boy", whilst English winners hear Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March Number 1, usually known as Land of Hope and Glory.[11] In sports in which the UK competes as one nation, most notably as Great Britain at the Olympics "God Save the Queen" is used to represent anyone or any team that comes from the United Kingdom.[10]

Lyrics in the United Kingdom

The phrase "God Save the King" is much older than the song, appearing, for instance, several times in the King James Bible.[12] Scholes says that as early as 1545 "God Save the King" was a watchword of the Royal Navy, with the response being "Long to reign over us".[13][14] He also notes that the prayer read in churches on anniversaries of the Gunpowder Plot includes words which might have formed part of the basis for the second verse "Scatter our enemies... assuage their malice and confound their devices".

In 1745, The Gentleman's Magazine published "God save our lord the king: A new song set for two voices", describing it "As sung at both Playhouses" (the Theatres Royal at Drury Lane and Covent Garden).[15]

Traditionally, the first performance was thought to have been in 1745, when it was sung in support of King George II, after his defeat at the Battle of Prestonpans by the army of Charles Edward Stuart, son of James Francis Edward Stuart, the Jacobite claimant to the British throne.

It is sometimes claimed that, ironically, the song was originally sung in support of the Jacobite cause: the word "send" in the line "Send him victorious" could imply that the king was absent. Also there are examples of early eighteenth century Jacobean drinking glasses which are inscribed with a version of the words and were apparently intended for drinking the health of King James II and VII.

Scholes acknowledges these possibilities but argues that the same words were probably being used by both Jacobite and Hanoverian supporters and directed at their respective kings.[16]

Standard version in the United Kingdom

God Save the Queen (standard version)

God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen:
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save the Queen.
O Lord, our God, arise,
Scatter her enemies,
And make them fall.
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix,
God save us all.
Thy choicest gifts in store,
On her be pleased to pour;
Long may she reign:
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice
God save the Queen
Not in this land alone
But be God's mercies known
From shore to shore
Lord make the nations see
That men should brothers be
And form one family
The wide world over
From every latent foe
From the assassins blow
God save the Queen
O'er her thine arm extend
For Britain's sake defend
Our mother, prince, and friend
God save the Queen

When the monarch of the time is male, "Queen", and all female pronouns are replaced with "King" and male pronouns. In addition, the lyrics of the 3rd verse are modified slightly to read, "With heart and voice to sing, God save the King".

There is no definitive version of the lyrics. However, the version consisting of the three verses reproduced in the blue box on the right hand side has the best claim to be regarded as the 'standard' UK version, appearing not only in the 1745 Gentleman's Magazine, but also in publications such as The Book of English Songs: From the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century (1851),[17] National Hymns: How They are Written and how They are Not Written (1861),[18] Household Book of Poetry (1882),[19] and Hymns Ancient and Modern, revised version (1982).[20] The same version with verse two omitted appears in publications including Scouting for boys (1908),[21] and on the U.K. Government's "Monarchy Today" website.[22] At the Queen's Golden Jubilee Party at the Palace concert, Prince Charles referred in his speech to the "politically incorrect second verse" of the National Anthem.

According to Alan Michie's "God Save the Queen," which was published in 1952 after the death of King George VI but prior to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the first General Assembly of the United Nations was held in London in January, 1946, and the King, in honour of the occasion, "ordered the belligerent imperious second stanza of 'God Save the King' rewritten to bring it more into the spirit of the brotherhood of nations."

In the United Kingdom, the first verse is the only verse typically sung, even at official occasions, although the third verse is sung in addition on rare occasions, and usually at the Last Night of the Proms. At the Closing Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the fourth verse of the William Hixton alternative lyrics was sung instead of the third verse.

Around 1745, anti-Jacobite sentiment was captured in a verse appended to the song, with a prayer for the success of Field Marshal George Wade's army then assembling at Newcastle. These words attained some short-term use, although they did not appear in the published version in the October 1745 Gentleman's Magazine. The source of this verse was a later article on the song, published by the Gentleman's Magazine in 1837. Therein, it is presented as an "additional verse... though being of temporary application only... stored in the memory of an old friend... who was born in the very year 1745, and was thus the associate of those who heard it first sung", the lyrics given being:

Lord, grant that Marshal Wade,
May by thy mighty aid,
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush,
and like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush,
God save the King.

The 1837 article and other sources make it clear that this verse was not used soon after 1745, and certainly before the song became accepted as the British national anthem in the 1780s and 1790s.[23][24] It was included as an integral part of the song in the Oxford Book of Eighteenth Century Verse of 1926, although erroneously referencing the "fourth verse" to the Gentleman's Magazine article of 1745.[25]

On the opposing side, Jacobite beliefs were demonstrated in an alternative verse used during the same period:[26]

God bless the prince, I pray,
God bless the prince, I pray,
Charlie I mean;
That Scotland we may see
Freed from vile Presbyt'ry,
Both George and his Feckie,
Ever so, Amen.

Various other attempts were made during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to add verses to commemorate particular royal or national events. For example, according to Fitzroy Maclean, when Jacobite forces bypassed Wade's force and reached Derby, but then retreated and when their garrison at Carlisle Castle surrendered to a second government army led by King George's son, the Duke of Cumberland, another verse was added.[27] Other short-lived verses were notably anti-French, such as the following, quoted in the book Handel by Edward J. Dent [28]:

From France and Pretender
Great Britain defend her,
Foes let them fall;
From foreign slavery,
Priests and their knavery,
And Popish Reverie,
God save us all.

However, none of these survived into the twentieth century.[29]

God Save The Queen 2007 St Giles Fair.ogg
God Save the Queen sung by the public at St Giles' Fair, Oxford, 2007.

Standard version of the Music

The standard version of the melody is still that of the original, and in the same key of G, though the start of the anthem is often signalled by an introductory side-drum roll of two bars length. The bass line of the standard version differs little from the second voice part shown in the original, and there is a standard version in four-part harmony for choirs. The first three lines (six bars of music) are soft, ending with a short crescendo into "Send her victorious", and then is another crescendo at "over us:" into the final words "God save the Queen".

In the early part of the twentieth century there existed a Military Band version, usually played in march time, in the higher key of B,[30] because it was easier for brass instruments to play in tune in that key, though it had the disadvantage of being more difficult to sing: however now most Bands play it in the correct key of G.

Alternative UK versions

There have been several attempts to improve the song by rewriting the words. In the nineteenth century there was some lively debate about the national anthem and, even then, verse two was considered to be slightly offensive. Notably, the question arose over the phrase "scatter her enemies." Some thought it placed better emphasis on the respective power of Parliament and the Crown to change "her" to "our"; others pointed out that the theology was somewhat dubious and substituted "thine" instead. Sydney G. R. Coles wrote a completely new version, as did Canon F. K. Harford.[31] In 1836, William Edward Hickson wrote four alternative verses. The first, third, and fourth of these verses are appended to the National Anthem in the English Hymnal (which only includes verses one and three of the original lyrics).

William Hickson's alternative version

William Hickson's alternative (1836) version includes the following verses, of which the first, third, and fourth have some currency as they are appended to the National Anthem in the English Hymnal. The fourth verse was sung after the traditional first verse during the raising of the Union Flag during the closing ceremonies of the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Official peace version

A less militaristic version of the song, titled "Official peace version, 1919", was first published in the hymn book Songs of Praise in 1925.[32] This was "official" in the sense that it was approved by the British Privy Council in 1919.[16] However, despite being reproduced in some other hymn books, it is largely unknown today.[33]

Performance in the United Kingdom

The style most commonly heard in official performances was proposed as the "proper interpretation" by King George V, who considered himself something of an expert (in view of the number of times he had heard it). An Army Order was duly issued in 1933, which laid down regulations for tempo, dynamics and orchestration. This included instructions such as that the opening "six bars will be played quietly by the reed band with horns and basses in a single phrase. Cornets and side-drum are to be added at the little scale-passage leading into the second half of the tune, and the full brass enters for the last eight bars". The official tempo for the opening section is a metronome setting of 60, with the second part played in a broader manner, at a metronome setting of 52.[34] In recent years the prescribed sombre-paced introduction is often played at a faster and livelier tempo.

Until the latter part of the 20th century, theatre and concert goers were expected to stand to attention while the anthem was played after the conclusion of a show. In cinemas this brought a tendency for audiences to rush out while the end credits played to avoid this formality.

The anthem continues to be played at traditional formal events, particularly those with a royal connection, such as Wimbledon, Royal Ascot, Henley Royal Regatta and The Proms.

The anthem was traditionally played at closedown on the BBC and with the introduction of commercial television to the UK this practice was adopted by some ITV companies (with the notable exception of Granada) BBC Two never played the anthem at closedown, and ITV dropped the practice in the late 1980s, but it continued on BBC One until 8 November 1997 (thereafter BBC1 began to simulcast with BBC News 24 after end of programmes). The tradition is carried on, however, by BBC Radio 4, which usually plays the anthem as a transition piece between the end of the Radio Four broadcasting and the move to BBC World Service. Radio 4 and Radio 2 also play the National Anthem at 0700 and 0800 on the actual and official birthdays of the Queen and the birthdays of senior members of the Royal Family.

The anthem usually prefaces The Queen's Christmas Message (although in 2007 it appeared at the end, taken from a recording of the 1957 television broadcast), and important royal announcements, such as of royal deaths, when it is played in a slower, sombre arrangement.

Other United Kingdom anthems

Frequently, when an anthem is needed for one of the constituent countries of the United Kingdom – at an international sporting event, for instance – an alternative song is used:

  • At international test cricket matches, England (and Wales) has, since 2004, used "Jerusalem" as the anthem.
  • At international rugby league matches, England uses "God Save the Queen" and also "Jerusalem".
  • At international rugby union and football matches, England uses "God Save the Queen".
  • At the Commonwealth Games "Land of Hope and Glory" is used.

Use in other Commonwealth countries

"God Save the King/Queen" was exported around the world via the expansion of the British Empire, serving as each country's national anthem. Throughout the Empire's evolution into the Commonwealth of Nations, the song declined in use in most states which became independent. In some countries it remains as one of the official national anthems, such as in New Zealand,[36] or as an official royal anthem, as is the case in Canada, Australia, Jamaica, Isle of Man, and Tuvalu, to be played during formal ceremonies involving national royalty or vice-royalty.[citation needed] The National Anthem of the United Kingdom is also used in all British Overseas Territories.

Use in Australia

In Australia, the song has standing through a Royal Proclamation issued by Governor-General Sir Ninian Stephen on 19 April 1984.[37] It was declared the Royal Anthem and is to be played when the Monarch or a member of the Royal Family is present. The same Proclamation made "Advance Australia Fair" the National Anthem and the basis for the Vice-Regal Salute (the first four and last two bars of the Anthem).

Use in Canada

In Canada "God Save the Queen" has not been adopted as the Royal Anthem by statute or proclamation, however it has come to be used as such through convention, and is sometimes sung together with "O Canada" at public events.[38] The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces regulates that "God Save the Queen" be played as a salute to the monarch and other members of the Canadian Royal Family, though it may also be used as a hymn, or prayer. The words are not to be sung when the song is played as a military Royal Salute, and is abbreviated to the first three lines while arms are being presented.[39]

Queen Elizabeth II stipulated that the arrangement in G major by Lieutenant Colonel Basil H. Brown be used in Canada. The authorised version to be played by pipe bands is Mallorca.[39]

Canadian lyrics

As "God Save the Queen" is the Royal Anthem of Canada,[40] the first verse has been translated into French[41] for use in Quebec, as shown below.

Dieu protège la reine
De sa main souveraine!
Vive la reine!
Qu'un règne glorieux,
Long et victorieux
Rende son peuple heureux.
Vive la reine!

A bilingual version is typically sung in Canada to close Remembrance Day ceremonies:[citation needed]

Dieu sauve notre reine,
Notre gracieuse reine,
Vive la Reine!
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God Save the Queen!

Or as:

God save our gracious Queen
Long live our noble Queen
God save the Queen!
Qu'elle soit victorieuse
Heureuse et glorieuse
Que Dieu protège notre Reine
Vive la Reine!

The order of the English and French portions depends upon how the national anthem, "O Canada", which is also sung bilingually, is performed at the opening of the ceremony. The translations above are those used by the combined choirs of the public schools in Ottawa, under the direction of Ms. Barbara Clark.

There is a special Canadian verse in English which was once commonly sung as a second verse in place of the original second verse:[citation needed]

Our lovèd Dominion bless
With peace and happiness
From shore to shore;
And let our Empire be
United, loyal, free,
True to herself and Thee
For evermore.

Modernly, however, on the rare occasion that two verses of the royal anthem are sung, it is almost invariably sung in Canada the same as it is sung in UK - with the actual second verse ("O Lord, our God, arise", etc.) replaced by the third verse ("Thy choicest gifts in store", etc.) sung as a second verse. But even in UK, a second verse is rarely sung

Use in New Zealand

The New Zealand national anthems are "God Save the Queen" and "God Defend New Zealand". However, "God Save the Queen" is most often only played when the Sovereign, Governor-General[42] or other member of the Royal Family is present, or on certain occasions such as Anzac Day.[43][44]

In New Zealand, the second more militaristic verse is sometimes replaced with Hixtons verse "Nor in this land alone..." (often sung as Not in this land alone"), otherwise known as a "Commonwealth verse".

Use elsewhere

"God Save the King" was the first song to be used as a national anthem, although the Netherlands' national anthem, Het Wilhelmus, is older. Its success prompted a number of imitations, notably in France and, later, Germany. Both commissioned their own songs to help construct a concrete national identity. The first German national anthem used the melody of "God Save the King" with the words changed to Heil dir im Siegerkranz, and sung to the same tune as the UK version. The tune was either used or officially adopted as the national anthem for several other countries, including those of Russia (until 1833) and Switzerland (Rufst Du, mein Vaterland or O monts indépendants, until 1961). Molitva russkikh, considered to be the first Russian anthem, was also sung to the same music.

"God Save the King" was used as the national anthem of the Kingdom of Hawaii before 1860, and from 1860 to 1886 the national anthem E Ola Ke Alii Ke Akua was set to the same melody.

It is also the melody to the United States patriotic hymn "America" (also known by its first line, "My Country, 'Tis of Thee"), the lyrics of which were written by Samuel Francis Smith in 1831. The song, a de facto national anthem before the adoption of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in the 1930s, is quite popular among Americans, most of whom associate the tune with the American hymn rather than the British anthem.

In Iceland it is sung to the poem of Eldgamla Ísafold.

It is Norway's royal anthem titled Kongesangen.

It was the Swedish royal anthem between 1805 and 1880, titled Bevare gud vår kung.

The tune is still used as the national anthem of Liechtenstein, Oben am jungen Rhein. The same tune was therefore played twice before the Euro 96 qualifying match between Northern Ireland and Liechtenstein; likewise when England played Liechtenstein in a Euro 2004 qualifier. (When England play Northern Ireland, the tune is only played once.)

The melody of "God Save the King" has been, and continues to be, used as a hymn tune by Christian churches in various countries. The United Methodists of the southern United States, Mexico, and Latin America, among other denominations (usually Protestant), play the same melody as a hymn. The Christian hymn "Glory to God on High" is frequently sung to the same tune, as well as an alternative tune that fits both lyrics. Note also that in the Protestant Church of Korea, it is sung as a choral hymn under the name of "Since I Have My Retreat"

Musical adaptations

Classical composers

In total, about 140 composers, including Beethoven, Haydn, Clementi, J.C.Bach, Liszt, Brahms, Carl Maria von Weber, Niccolò Paganini, Johann Strauss I, Sir Edward Elgar, etc., have used the tune in their compositions.[2]

Ludwig van Beethoven composed a set of seven piano variations in the key of C major to the theme of "God Save the King", catalogued as WoO.78 (1802–1803). Moreover, he also quotes it in his "battle symphony" Wellington's Victory.

Muzio Clementi, another composer who used the theme to "God Save the King", did so in his Symphony No. 3 in G major. This work is dubbed the "Great National Symphony" and is catalogued as WoO. 34. For the noblest reasons, Clementi paid a high tribute to his adopted homeland (the United Kingdom) where he grew up and stayed most of his lifetime. He based the Symphony(about 1816–1824) on "God Save the King", which is hinted at earlier in the work, not least in the second movement, and announced by the trombones in the finale. • Symphony No. 3 " Great National Symphony " in en sol majeur/G-dur/G major/sol maggiore 1. Andante sostenuto - Allegro con brio 2. Andante un poco mosso 3. Minuetto. Allegretto 4. Finale. Vivace

Johann Christian Bach composed a set of variations on "God Save the King" for the finale to his sixth keyboard concerto (Op. 1) written c. 1763.

Joseph Haydn was impressed by the use of "God Save the King" as a national anthem during his visit to London in 1794, and on his return to Austria wrote a tune to the national anthem, the Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser ("God Save Emperor Franz"), for the birthday of the Emperor Franz of Austria. The tune of "God Save the King" was later adopted for the Prussian national anthem Heil Dir im Siegerkranz.

Franz Liszt wrote a piano paraphrase on the anthem (S.259 in the official catalogue, c. 1841).

Johann Strauss I quoted God Save the Queen in full at the end of his waltz Huldigung der Königin Victoria von Grossbritannien (Homage to Queen Victoria of Great Britain) Op. 103, where he also quoted Rule, Britannia! in full at the beginning of the piece.

Siegfried August Mahlmann in the early 19th century wrote alternate lyrics to adapt the hymn for the Kingdom of Saxony, as "Gott segne Sachsenland" ("God Save Saxony").[45]

Gaetano Donizetti used this anthem in his opera "Roberto Devereux".

Gioachino Rossini used this anthem in the last scene of his "Il viaggio a Reims", when all the characters, coming from many different European countries, sing a song which recalls their own homeland. Lord Sidney, bass, sings "Della real pianta" on the notes of "God save the King". Samuel Ramey used to interpolate a spectacular virtuoso cadenza at the end of the song.

Fernando Sor used the anthem in his 12 Studies, Op. 6: No. 10 in C Major in the section marked 'Maestoso.'

Arthur Sullivan quotes the anthem at the end of his ballet Victoria and Merrie England.

Claude Debussy opens with a brief introduction of God Save the King in one of his Preludes, Hommage à S. Pickwick Esq. P.P.M.P.C. The piece draws its inspiration from the main character of the Charles Dickens novel The Pickwick Papers.

Niccolò Paganini wrote a set of highly virtuosic variations on "God Save the King" as his Opus 9.

Max Reger wrote "Variations and Fugue on 'Heil dir im Siegerkranz' (God Save the King)" for organ in 1901 after the death of Queen Victoria. It does not have an opus number.

Sir Edward Elgar wrote his own orchestration of the National Anthem, performed with choir and symphony orchestra in 1927, for the occasion of the mayoral procession at the opening of the Hereford Music Festival on September 4 of that year.[46]

Carl Maria von Weber uses the "God Save the King" theme at the end of his "Jubel Overture"

Giuseppe Verdi, included "God Save the Queen" in his "Inno delle Nazioni" (Hymn of the Nations), composed for the London International Exhibition of 1862.

Charles Ives wrote Variations on "America" for organ in 1891 at age seventeen. It included a polytonal section in three simultaneous keys, though this was omitted from performances at his father's request, because "it made the boys laugh out loud". Ives was fond of the rapid pedal line in the final variation, which he said was "almost as much fun as playing baseball". The piece was not published until 1949; the final version includes an introduction, seven variations and a polytonal interlude. The piece was adapted for orchestra in 1963 by William Schuman. This version became popular during the bicentennial celebrations, and is often heard at pops concerts.

Muthuswamy Dikshitar: (1776-1835), one of the musical trinity in South Indian Classical (carnatic) music has composed some Sanskrit pieces set to Western tunes. The notations for these pieces which are referred to as "nottu swara sahityam" are available in the Sangeeta Sampradaya Pradarshini of Subbarama Dikshitar(the composer's great grandson). These are set to the raga Sankarabharanam. Among these, the composition "Santatam Pahimam Sangita Shyamale" is set to the tune of "God save the Queen"

Rock adaptations

Jimi Hendrix of the The Jimi Hendrix Experience played an impromptu version of "God Save the Queen" to open his set at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970. Just before walking onto the stage, he can be seen (on the DVD) and heard to ask "How does it go again?" in reference to the said UK national anthem. He was able just to hear it mimicked by voice and then perform it.[47] His relatively accurate lead-guitar rendition of "God Save the Queen' can be viewed in stark contrast to his performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the Woodstock Festival, 1969.

The progressive rock band Gentle Giant closed their eponymous 1970 debut album with a short instrumental rendition of the anthem, titled simply "The Queen".

In 1977, the Sex Pistols recorded a song titled God Save The Queen in open reference to the National Anthem, with the song intending to stand for sympathy for the working class and resentment of the monarchy. They were banned from many venues, censored by mainstream media, and reached number 2 on the U.K. singles charts.

Queen - A Night at the Opera
"Bohemian Rhapsody"
(Track 11)
"God Save the Queen"
(Track 12)
(end of album)

The rock band Queen recorded an instrumental version of "God Save the Queen" on their 1975 album A Night at the Opera. It was arranged by guitarist Brian May and features his distinctive layers of overdubbed electric guitars. A tape of this version would be played at the end of almost every concert, with Freddie Mercury walking around the stage wearing a crown and a cloak on their Magic Tour in 1986. On 3 June 2002, during the Queen's Golden Jubilee, Brian May performed the anthem on his Red Special electric guitar for Party at the Palace, performing from the roof of Buckingham Palace.

The Beatles briefly ran through the melody of "God Save The Queen" in between songs during their 30 January 1969 rooftop concert. Preserved on bootlegs, this short musical sketch has never been officially released.

A version of "God Save the Queen" by Madness features the melody of the song played on kazoos. It was included on the compilation album The Business.


  1. ^ cf. the versions in the hymn books English Hymnal, Hymns Ancient and Modern and Songs of Praise and the version at the website
  2. ^ a b c "Monarchy Today pages at website". Retrieved 2007-04-01. 
  3. ^ Scholes, Percy A. The Oxford Companion to Music, Tenth Edition. Oxford University Press. 
  4. ^ Sousa, John Philip (1890). "National, Patriotic, and Typical Airs of All Lands. "[Remember O Thou Man] is the air on the ground of which God Save the King Is sometimes claimed for Scotland. It is in two strains of 8 bars each and has the rhythm and melody of the modern tune in the first and third bars of the second strain. But it is in minor." 
  5. ^ Pinkerton, John (1830). "Remember O thou man is unquestionably the root of God save the King" 
  6. ^ Patricia Ranum. "A Sweet Servitude: A Musician's Life at the Court of Mlle de Guise". 
  7. ^ see the sheet music available online: "Domine Salvum Fac Regem" (pdf). Retrieved 2007-04-01. 
  8. ^ "Souvenirs, Vol 1, Chapter IV". Retrieved 2007-04-02. 
  9. ^ Dearmer, Percy; Vaughan Williams, Ralph (1906). The English Hymnal with Tunes. Oxford University Press. p. 724. Hymn No. 560 "National Anthem"
  10. ^ a b "National anthems & national songs". British Council. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  11. ^ Anthem 4 England - Land of Hope and Glory
  12. ^ 1 Samuel x. 24; 2 Samuel xvi. 16 and 2 Kings xi. 12
  13. ^ Wood, William (1919). Flag and Fleet: How the British Navy Won the Freedom of the Seas. Macmillan. 
  14. ^ "The Watchword in the Night shall be, 'God save King Henrye!' The other shall answer, 'Long to raign over Us!'
  15. ^ The Gentleman's Magazine Vol. 15, Oct. 1745, p.552
  16. ^ a b Scholes p.412
  17. ^ Mackay, Charles (1851). The Book of English Songs: From the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Century. p. 203. 
  18. ^ White, Richard Grant (1861). National Hymns: How They are Written and how They are Not Written. Rudd & Carleton. p. 42. 
  19. ^ Dana, Charles Anderson (1882). Household Book of Poetry. p. 384. 
  20. ^ Hymns Ancient and Modern, Revised Version. SCM-Canterbury Press Ltd. 1982. p. 504. ISBN 0907547060. 
  21. ^ Baden-Powell, Robert (1908). Scouting for Boys. p. 341. 
  22. ^ "Monarchy Today website". Retrieved 2007-04-01. 
  23. ^ Richards, Jeffrey (2002). Imperialism and Music: Britain 1876 to 1953. Manchester University Press. p. 90. ISBN 0719045061.  "A fourth verse was briefly in vogue at the time of the rebellion, but was rapidly abandoned thereafter: God grant that Marshal Wade...etc"
  24. ^ "The history of God Save the King": The Gentleman's Magazine, Vol 6 (new series), 1837, p.373. "There is an additional verse... though being of temporary application only, it was but short-lived...[but] was stored in the memory of an old friend of my own... 'Oh! grant that Marshal Wade... etc.'
  25. ^
  26. ^ Groom, Nick (2006). The Union Jack: the Story of the British Flag. Atlantic Books. Appendix. ISBN 1843543362. 
  27. ^ Maclean, Fitzroy (1989). Bonnie Prince Charlie. Canongate Books Ltd.. ISBN ISBN 0-86241-568-3.  Note that the verse he quotes appears to have a line missing.
  28. ^ See: text at project Gutenberg and at
  29. ^ Richards p.90.
  30. ^ Official versions published by Kneller Hall Royal Military School of Music
  31. ^ Richards p.91
  32. ^ Dearmer, Percy; Vaughan Williams, Ralph (1925). Songs of Praise. Oxford University Press. 
  33. ^ "Forgotten National Anthem Sung at Halesowen Service". Retrieved 2007-03-30.  Article in the Black Country Bugle describes it as an "unusual and little known version of the national anthem...taken from the order of service for the blessing of Halesowen’s borough charter...on Sunday, 20th September, 1936."
  34. ^ Percy A Scholes: Oxford Companion to Music, Tenth Edition, Oxford University Press
  35. ^ Parliamentary Information Management Services. Early day Motion 1319
  36. ^ "Letter from Buckingham Palace to the Governor-General of New Zealand". Retrieved 2007-04-03.  - Royal assent that the two songs should have equal status
  37. ^ Commonwealth of Australia Gazette; No. S 142; 19 April, 1984
  38. ^ "Department of Canadian Heritage: Royal anthem "God Save The Queen"". Retrieved 2007-04-01. 
  39. ^ a b Department of National Defence: The Honours, Flags and Heritage Structure of the Canadian Forces; p. 503
  40. ^ "Royal Anthem "God Save the Queen" at Government of Canada website". Retrieved 2007-08-25. 
  41. ^ "Hymne royal « Dieu protège la Reine » at Government of Canada website" (in French). Retrieved 2008-11-26. 
  42. ^ Max Cryer. "Hear Our Voices, We Entreat - The Extraordinary Story of New Zealand’s National Anthems". Exisle Publishing. Retrieved 2008-09-10. 
  43. ^ "New Zealand's National Anthems". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  44. ^ "Protocol for using New Zealand's National Anthems". Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  45. ^ Granville Bantock (1913). Sixty Patriotic Songs of All Nations. Ditson. p. xv. 
  46. ^ Jerrold Northrop Moore, Edward Elgar, a Creative Life, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1987
  47. ^ It should be noted that the musical melody of "God Save the Queen" is identical to a traditionally popular, patriotic song in the United States, "My Country 'Tis of Thee."

External links

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

←Indexes: National anthems
God Save the Queen
by Unknown
Wikipedia logo Wikipedia has more on:
God Save the Queen.
God Save the Queen is traditionally used as the national anthem of the United Kingdom and the royal anthem of Canada and the other Commonwealth realms, as well as as the royal anthem of the British Royal Family. It is one of two official national anthems of New Zealand. As the Royal Anthem of Australia, it is sung in preference to the National Anthem (Advance Australia Fair) when the Monarch is present in the country. When the British monarch is male the anthem becomes "God Save the King". Only the first verse is commonly sung.

Since "God Save the Queen" is the Royal Anthem of Canada, the first verse has been translated into French for use in that country, as shown below. As sung in English in Canada, "God Save the Queen" has an additional English verse, sung after the first or second verse, which is also given below.

Contrary to popular belief God Save the Queen has never been proclaimed the national anthem of Great Britain, it is simply tradition.

In the United States, the unofficial but anthemic My Country 'Tis of Thee is sung to the same tune.




God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen:
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save the Queen.


O Lord, our God, arise,
Scatter thine enemies[2],
And make them fall
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On thee our hopes we fix:
God save us all.


Thy choicest gifts in store,
On her be pleased to pour;
Long may she reign:
May she defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice
God save the Queen [1].


Not in this land alone,
But be God's mercies known,
From shore to shore!
Lord make the nations see,
That men should brothers be,
And form one family,
The wide world over.


From every latent foe,
From the assassins' blow,
God save the Queen!
O'er her thine arm extend,
For Britain's sake defend,
Our mother, princess, and friend,
God save the Queen!

First verse in French, as sung in Canada

Dieu protège la reine
De sa main souveraine !
Vive la reine !
Qu'un règne glorieux,
Loin et victorieux
Rende son peuple heureux.
Vive la reine !

Additional verse sung in Canada

Our loved Dominion bless
With peace and happiness
From shore to shore;
And let our Empire be[3]
Loyal, united, free
True to herself and Thee
God save the Queen [4].


  1. ^ When there is a King the two lines in italics become "With heart and voice to sing / God save the King".
  2. ^ Alternatively: "Scatter her enemies".
  3. ^ Alternatively: "And let our country be".
  4. ^ This last line is alternatively "Forever more."
PD-icon.svg This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:


Alternative forms

Proper noun

God Save the Queen


God Save the Queen

  1. The national anthem of the United Kingdom.


God Save the Queen!

  1. (British, Canadian) An expression of one’s patriotism and hope for the long life of the monarch, especially in her presence.
  2. (British, Canadian) A formal statement at the end of many proclamations issued by the Queen or in her name.

Simple English

God Save the Queen is a song, the national anthem of the United Kingdom. When there is a king instead of a queen it becomes God Save the King. Some other countries that still have the British monarch as their head of state use this song as a Royal Anthem to honour the queen.

It is not completely certain who wrote it, but most people think it was Dr Henry Carey, who first performed it in 1740.

The tune for God Save the Queen was used in many countries as a national anthem. Apart from the German state, many of which were linked to Great Britain by marriage, Liechtenstein and Switzerland used the tune. Switzerland changed to a different tune in the 1960s. Liechtenstein still uses the tune.

The tune is both American and British. In the 1930s the United States chose an official anthem. The "Star Spangled Banner" was chosen instead of the equally popular "My Country 'tis of Thee" which used the God Save the Queen tune.

krc:God Save the Queen/King

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