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The British national anthem: how will it change for King Charles III?

The song was first created in 1745


king charles anthem
Sophie Hamilton
Parenting Editor
9 September 2022
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The British people are in mourning following the passing of their sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II at her Scottish home of Balmoral on 8 September.

MORE: Emotional King Charles' heartfelt gesture to Camilla as they arrive at Buckingham Palace after Queen's death

As her eldest son, King Charles III, takes his place on the throne, many people are wondering what national anthem the nation will sing to honour him – will it be a totally new anthem or the King's version of the late Queen's anthem?

WATCH: A timeline of King Charles III's life

The British national anthem as we know it dates back to the eighteenth century when 'God Save the King' was a patriotic song first performed in London in 1745.

Then, in the early nineteenth century, it came to be known as the UK's official national anthem. The anthem is also the national song of British and Commonwealth territories around the world.

MORE: King Charles III's coronation: when will it be and what will happen?

READ: 6 books about Queen Elizabeth II’s reign

king charles song

Britain's new monarch, King Charles III

As the song first began as a homage to a male monarch, it's expected that the royals will revert to this version once again. In fact, the 'King' version was last used when the late Queen's father, George VI, ruled Britain.

the queen

The late Queen Elizabeth II

According to the Royal Family's website, the history of the anthem goes as follows…

"In September 1745 the 'Young Pretender' to the British Throne, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, defeated the army of King George II at Prestonpans, near Edinburgh.

"In a fit of patriotic fervour after news of Prestonpans had reached London, the leader of the band at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, arranged 'God Save The King' for performance after a play. It was a tremendous success and was repeated nightly.

"This practice soon spread to other theatres, and the custom of greeting monarchs with the song as he or she entered a place of public entertainment was thus established."

Singing 'God Save the King' instead of 'God Save the Quee will certainly take some getting used to. Emotions will run high the first time the nation sings it collectively, without a doubt.

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