National Anthem: Official version of God Save the King according to Buckingham Palace | Music | Entertainment


We’ve all been singing it since 1745. Everybody knows it by heart. Except almost all of us probably only really know the famous chorus and maybe one or two other verses. There are actually six verses in total – although one is never sung since it is specifically and virulently anti-Scottish. As the entire nation prepares to sing God Save The King for the first time in almost all our lives, we checked with Buckingham Palace for the official line on the correct version of the National Anthem and how many verses were royally recommended.

The tune itself has been around for centuries and has also been used in the past for the national anthem of Norway and is still the tune to the US’ My Country ‘Tis Of Thee.

In past centuries in England, it often had temporary lyrics that came and went in and out of fashion. However, momentous events in the 1740s led to a popular resurgence of the song with new and fiercely patriotic (for the English) lyrics.

In 1745 a rousing performance of new lyrics established it as an anthem to both the country and the monarch. And so, to this day it is still used both as the National Anthem for the United Kingdom but is also sung as the royal anthem whenever the monarch is present in a public capacity.

The official website says: “The words used today are those sung in 1745, substituting ‘Queen’ for ‘King’ where appropriate. On official occasions, only the first verse is usually sung. The words of the National Anthem are as follows:

“God save our gracious King! Long live our noble King! God save the King!
Send him victorious, Happy and glorious, Long to reign over us: God save the King!

“Thy choicest gifts in store, On him be pleased to pour; Long may he reign.
May he defend our laws, And ever give us cause, With heart and voice to sing, God save the King!”

The royal website adds: “There is no authorised version of the National Anthem as the words are a matter of tradition. Additional verses have been added down the years, but these are rarely used.”

Of these, the most common remain the following three verses: “O Lord our God arise, Scatter our enemies, And make them fall!
Confound their politics, Frustrate their knavish tricks, On Thee our hopes we fix: God save us all!

“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 ov’er.

“From every latent foe, From the assassin’s blow, God save the King!
O’er him thine arm extend, For Britain’s sake defend, Our father, prince, and friend, God save the King!”


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