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God Save the Queen

"God Save the Queen" is a patriotic song of unknown author. It is the national anthem of the United Kingdom and its colonies. When the British monarch is male it becomes "God Save the King", as it was originally sung.

It was formerly the national anthem of most Commonwealth Realms, including Australia, Canada, and Jamaica. It has since been replaced by "Advance Australia Fair," "O Canada," and "Jamaica, Land We Love" respectively, though it remains those countries' royal anthem. It continues to be recognized as the national anthem of New Zealand, together with "God Defend New Zealand". Only a handful of independent Commonwealth realms (St. Helena, Anguilla, and the Falkland Islands) currently recognize it as their sole anthem.

It is also the former national anthem of Ireland, replaced in the 1920s by Amhrán na bhFiann (in English, 'The Soldier's Song').

The first known public performance of the song came in 1745 in support of George II after a defeat by the Jacobite claimant to the British throne, "Bonnie Prince Charlie", who had widespread Scottish support. This support caused the later attachment of a verse, shown last in the list below, which has an anti-Scottish sentiment, and is rarely (if ever) sung nowadays. It should be noted that there is no authorised version, and in general only one, rarely two, verses are ever sung - see 1 (http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/page317.asp).

Frequently, when an anthem is needed for one of the component countries of the UK -- at an international sporting event, for instance -- an alternate song is used: Wales has its own recognised anthem in "Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau"; Scotland uses either "Flower of Scotland" or "Scotland the Brave"; England often uses "Jerusalem" or Elgar's "Land of Hope and Glory".

"God Save the Queen" was the very first national anthem, and its tune was adopted for several other countries' national anthems, including that of Liechtenstein, as well as the popular United States song My Country, Tis of Thee.

In 1977 during Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee, the Sex Pistols released a punk rock song with the same title. Attempting to play the song from a boat on the river Thames outside The Palace of Westminster on the Jubilee holiday itself (a day which was billed as a national party), the band was arrested by the British police.

Traditionally the tune is played at a slow and somber pace which many consider to be dreary. Occasionally events use a faster and livelier beat to reduce that effect. Comedian Billy Connolly performed a sketch broadcast on TV comparing the UK's slow tune to the lively ones of many other nations and suggested that it should be replaced by the theme tune to The Archers.

God Save the Queen

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Lord grant that Marshall 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!*

* The last verse, and indeed most verses except the first, are rarely sung.

Since "God Save the Queen" is the royal anthem of Canada, the first verse has been translated into French for use in that country:

Dieu protège la reine
De sa main souveraine!
Vive la reine!
Qu'un règne glorieux,
Long et victorieux
Rende son peuple heureux.
Vive la reine!

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