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Royal anthem "God Save The Queen"

History of "God Save The Queen"

SpeakerThough usually attributed to Arne, there is good ground for believing it is really the work of Henry Carey, a singer and composer. It is said to have been written sometime between 1736 and 1740, but was first heard in public at a dinner in 1740 to celebrate the taking of Portobello by Admiral Vernon. Carey sang it as his own composition. The oldest copy is in "Harmonia Anglicana" of 1743 to which Carey was one of the chief contributors.

Several similar earlier airs exist in a manuscript of 1619 attributed to Dr. John Bull, an organist in the Chapel Royal during the reign of James I. In the same book is a song called "God Save the King", but the music is different.

The Scots claim it is based on an old carol of 1611 called "Remember O thou man" or "Franklyn is fled away" of 1669. It has also been traced to Purcell in 1696.

As a phrase from the Coverdale Bible of 1535, "God Save the King" was used as a naval watchword to which the countersign was "Long to reign over us".

For a long time the song was used as an expression of personal loyalty to the king and in translation it was used in Prussia, Denmark, and in Russia until 1833 when Czar Nicholas commissioned a new version. The tune has also been used in Sweden, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and the United States.

GOD SAVE THE QUEEN is sung in the United Kingdom as a matter of tradition. It has never been proclaimed the national anthem by an Act of Parliament or a Royal Proclamation.


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,
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.

Playing of "God Save The Queen" at events

"God Save The Queen" has no legal status in Canada, although it is considered as the royal anthem, to be played in the presence of members of the Royal Family or as part of the salute accorded to the Governor General and the lieutenant governors.

Commercial use

"God Save The Queen" is in the public domain and may be used without having to obtain permission from the Government.

SOURCE: Canadian Heritage