Within the hours instantly following the dying of Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral on Thursday (8 September), the crowds gathering exterior of Buckingham Palace in London got here collectively to sing each “God Save the Queen” for the late sovereign and “God Save the King” for her eldest son and successor, the previous Prince of Wales, now often known as King Charles III.
The latter phrasing can have been eerily unfamiliar to many, having not been sung on these shores since 1952 when the reign of Elizabeth’s father, George VI, got here to an abrupt finish.
The music was fist adopted because the UK and Commonwealth’s nationwide anthem in September 1745 through the reign of George III, a yr after its lyrics appeared in print for the primary time in The Gentleman’s Journal and its music was set down in ink within the pages of the Thesaurus Musicus anthology at a time when the spectre of Bonnie Prince Charlie loomed, threatening to reclaim the thrones of England, Scotland and Eire for the Stuarts.
The identification of the music’s creator stays unknown, though earlier composers together with John Bull, Thomas Ravenscroft, Henry Purcell and Henry Carey have all been nominated as doable candidates.
The phrase itself long-predates that publication, with Percy Scholes writing in The Oxford Companion to Music in 1938 that “God Save the King” was a watchword of the Royal Navy from as early as 1545, its name met with the response: “Lengthy to reign over us.”
Scholes additionally traced the music’s vengeful sentiments in direction of opponents of the realm to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, notably: “Scatter his enemies, And make them fall, Confound their politics, Frustrate their knavish methods.”
By 1746, the anthem was shortly turning into a well-liked favorite in London’s Theatres Royal at Drury Lane and Covent Backyard as George Frideric Handel adopted it for inclusion in his Occasional Oratorio, regarding the current Jacobite Revolt.
“God Save the King” subsequently unfold abroad all through the late 18th century, with Ludwig van Beethoven producing seven piano variations of it, Joseph Haydn taking inspiration for Austria’s personal “Gott Erhalte Franz den Kaiser” and everybody from Franz Liszt and Johann Strauss to Gioachino Rossini and Claude Debussy occurring to cite from it of their works. American composer Samuel F Smith would in the meantime recycle the tune into “My Nation, ‘Tis of Thee” in 1832.
A rousing, uncomplicated patriotic ode all through the Victorian period and through the World Wars, in newer many years the anthem has attracted loads of detractors, not least the Intercourse Pistols, whose personal dirge of the identical title was launched to coincide with Elizabeth II’s silver jubilee celebrations in 1977 and notoriously rhymed “Queen” with “fascist regime”.
As we speak, the very notion of bowing down as topics earlier than a sovereign monarch may, for a lot of, really feel completely at odds with the fact of lives lived as residents of a contemporary twenty first century democracy, however endure it does and there’s no query that the music’s lyrics comprise their share of noble, even common sentiments, not least the Brexit-confounding: “Lord make the nations see, That males ought to brothers be, And kind one household, The extensive world over.”
It additionally has in its favour the truth that it’s, at the least marginally, much less jingoistic than “Rule, Britannia!”, whose declare that “Britannia guidelines the waves” may need been true in Lord Nelson’s day however rings nonsensical in 2022.
Because the anthem isn’t enshrined in regulation, its phrases may be modified at any time and Charles technically grew to become king the second his mom died as a result of, in accordance with custom, the throne can by no means be left unoccupied or unattended, even whereas preparations are made for a brand new monarch’s coronation.
The lyrics then, for a courageous new period, are as follows:
God save our gracious King!
Lengthy stay our noble King!
God save the King!
Ship him victorious,
Blissful and wonderful,
Lengthy to reign over us:
God save the King!
O Lord our God come up,
Scatter his enemies,
And make them fall:
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish methods,
On Thee our hopes we repair:
God save us all.
Thy choicest items in retailer,
On him be happy to pour;
Lengthy could he reign:
Could he defend our legal guidelines,
And ever give us trigger,
To sing with coronary heart and voice,
God save the King!