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The British National Anthem

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'God Save the Queen' is famously known from sporting events, such as football or rugby matches. This song is sung as the British National Anthem, which means that it is sung by teams at national sporting events as well as at those national events attended by members of the Royal Family.

It is a well known fact that not all the members of the England Football Team know the words to 'God Save the Queen' (which are credited to Henry Carey in 1740). Whenever a football match is played between two national teams, both of their national anthems are played. If you note what each member of the two teams of eleven are doing when the anthems are played, you might well find two mumblers and nine mutes.

And of course, if an individual has won something, like an event at the Olympics, then that triumphant person's national anthem will also be played.

The British national anthem is not only sung by English sports teams, it is also sung as the Australian, Canadian and New Zealand Royal Anthems1. Although the Scots sing 'The Flower of Scotland', the Welsh 'Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau' or 'The Land Of My Fathers', and the Northern Irish 'Londonderry Air' or 'Danny Boy', they also sing the British national anthem.


Though mostly only the first and third verses are sung, there are actually six verses, most of them unknown to people in general. Currently the National Anthem is called 'God Save the Queen', but if there was a King on the throne in Britain then it would be called 'God Save the King'.

The tune and words to the anthem are mostly accredited to Henry Carey but this is not the only theory. Others say that the music was written by the famous composer Jean-Baptiste Lully based on a French hymn played when the King arrived. The tune is also used as the national anthem of Liechtenstein. For more information try these sites:

The Sex Pistols released their own version of 'God Save the Queen' proclaiming: 'God Save the Queen! The fascist regime!'. The song was banned but this didn't stop people buying it and it sold like hot cakes.

The Words

British Words

1. 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!

2. 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!

3. 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!

4. 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.

5. 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!

6. 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 Queen!

For the words to the Liechtenstein national anthem go here.

As well as the six verses above, there are extra verses for various other countries such as the extra Canadian verse and US song using the same melody:

Canadian Extra Verse

Our loved Dominion Bless
With peace and happiness
From shore to shore
And let our Empire be
Loyal, united, free,
True to herself and thee
For evermore.

US Song

My country 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.
Land of the pilgrim's pride,
Land where our fathers died,
From ev'ry mountainside
Let freedom ring.
1New Zealand has as their unofficial anthem 'God Defend New Zealand'.

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