God Save the Queen

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"God Save the Queen" is the national anthem of the United Kingdom, and the royal anthem of many Commonwealth realms. Words and music are anonymous, though various theories as to authorship exist. The first known performance of the song was at a banquet in London in 1740. A fourth verse was added after the defeat of the Scottish rebellion of 1745, which spoke of crushing the Scots and such like, but was removed in Victorian times as not being particularly conducive to a harmonious union between England and Scotland. A different fourth verse, called the peace verse, was added at the end of the First World War, but this too was later removed. W. S. Gilbert, the librettist and lyricist of the Gilbert and Sullivan collaboration, professed to know little about music and famously said, "I only know two songs. One is 'God Save the Queen' and the other isn't.".[1] An American version of the same tune exists, as "My Country, 'Tis of Thee", or "America", with the only differentiating feature in the lyrics.


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.

Note: When the monarch of the time is male, the word Queen is replaced with King, her with him and she with he.

Outside the United Kingdom

In the United States, the same tune is the setting for the familiar patriotic hymn entitled "America" (but universally referred to by its first line, "My Country, 'Tis of Thee.").[2] It is often sung in elementary schools, perhaps because it is much easier for young children than "The Star-Spangled Banner." The song was written by Samuel F. Smith in 1831 and first performed by Lowell Mason on July 4, 1831, at a children's service at the Park Street Church in Boston, Massachusetts.[3]

In popular music

An anti-monarchist song, taking its title from the anthem, was a major hit record for the Sex Pistols in 1977, despite being banned from radio airplay in the United Kingdom.


  1. Glossary of Obscure References in Pirates
  2. America (My Country, 'Tis of Thee)
  3. My Country, 'Tis of Thee, Library of Congress American Memory project

External links