The Queen’s funeral took place at Westminster Abbey on Monday, and led to much scrutiny on aspects of the service.
One claim, made by a number of people on Twitter, suggested that God Save the King had been sung including lyrics with anti-Scottish sentiment.
Ferret Fact Service looked at this claim and found it False.
The service for the Queen’s state funeral contained a number of psalms, hymns and tributes, as well as songs and other musical performances.
It ended with a rendition of God Save the King, in tribute to the new monarch, King Charles III.
Two verses of the song’s lyrics were sung at the funeral and just the first verse was sung at the committal ceremony. These are usually considered to be the verses which make up the national anthem of the UK, but there are no official rules on which versions should be sung. Often only the first verse is sung, such as at sporting events.
These two verses contain the 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.
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.
The song first appeared in print, in a slightly altered version, in 1745 in Gentleman’s Magazine.
The claim references “all six verses” of the national anthem. A number of other verses have been included in the song at various times, but have fallen out of common use. Controversy has arisen in the past over lyrics added to the song around the Jacobite uprising in Scotland which contain anti-Scottish sentiments.
A verse of the song contains the lyrics:
Lord grant that Marshal Wade,
May by thy mighty aid,
May he sedition hush,
And like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush.
God save the Queen!
This refers to Field-Marshal George Wade, who was put in charge of the army sent to stop Jacobite leader Charles Edward Stuart (also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie) and his forces advancing into England, known as the Jacobite uprising of 1745.
This version of the song was created after the song was written, and has not been widely sung in the last century. It is not known who wrote God Save the King originally, nor who added the offending lyrics. It was not sung at the Queen’s funeral.
It is possible the incorrect claim comes from an attached article in My London Live website, which purports to quote every verse of the national anthem, including the anti-Scots verse.
Ferret Fact Service verdict: False
The offending lyrics referring to “rebellious Scots” were not sung at the Queen’s funeral, which included the two verses broadly considered to make up the national anthem. There are a number of other versions with more verses which were also not included. The additional verse containing anti-Scottish sentiments was added after the song’s creation, and fell out of regular use more than 100 years ago.
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Photo credit: iStock/fazon1.