Royal Anthem

Following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, we invite you to visit our commemorative page to relive key moments of her visits to Canada and find information on the commemorative events held in her honour.

Please note that some information on the web pages about the Crown in Canada will be updated.

Royal Anthem ( lyrics )

History

The Royal Anthem originated as a patriotic song in London, England, in 1745. Neither the author nor the composer is known. The anthem is performed officially in Canada in the presence of members of the Royal Family, as part of the Salute accorded to the Governor General and Lieutenant Governors and by Canadians at all types of ceremonies and events usually in concert with the national anthem “O Canada”.

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.

“The Royal Anthem” 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.

While “O Canada” is the national anthem of Canada, “God Save The King” is our royal anthem.

Lyrics

“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.
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 him be pleased to pour;
Long may he reign:
May he defend our laws,
And ever give us cause
To sing with heart and voice
God save The King.”

Commercial Use

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

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: