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How the new national anthem goes and meaning behind song, explained

King Charles III’s coronation takes place on Saturday, with thousands of people flocking to London to witness the historic event, while millions more will tune in to watch at home on television.

The official coronation ceremony will see the King and Queen Camilla parade through central London, before the official crowning at Westminster Abbey.

The national anthem will be played during the service and across the country over the course of Saturday. Liverpool FC acknowledged that some have “strong feelings” about the monarchy, saying “it’s a personal choice how those at Anfield on Saturday mark this occasion.”

For those that wish to sing along when the anthem plays, here are the updated lyrics:

God Save the King 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 our 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 o’er.

From every latent foe,
From the assassins blow,
God save the King!
O’er his thine arm extend,
For Britain’s sake defend,
Our father, prince, and friend,
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!

What is the meaning behind the national anthem?

The words and tune of the national anthem are anonymous. It dates back to the 18th century, during the reign of George II.

“God Save the King” was a patriotic song first publicly performed in London in 1745. It came to be known as the national anthem at the beginning of the 19th century.

The original lyrics were: “God save great George our king, God save our noble king, God save the king! Send him victorious, Happy and glorious, Long to reign over us, God save the king!

However, “great George” changed to “gracious” after it was realised that William IV and Victoria’s names – the next two in line to the throne – did not scan.

Only the first two verses of the song tend to be sung, and on official occasions, just the first.

The Royal Family website states: “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.

“There is no authorised version of the national anthem as the words are a matter of tradition. Additional verses have been added down the years, but these are rarely used.”

The coronation of King Charles III

Here’s a full timetable of the coronation, including when Charles will actually be crowned, and details of the concert.

The ceremony has taken an astonishing amount of preparation, with Operation Golden Orb – decades in the planning – bringing in snipers and police officers from across the country to aid security. The coronation will also feature the biggest military procession in 70 years, no small feat of logistics, but still intends to be the most sustainable ever.

But the event has not been without controversy. The option for the public to pledge allegiance to the new monarch sparked resistance, including from i‘s own Stefano Hatfield, and the new King’s relationship with his second son will be under fierce scrutiny, with Jennie Bond blaming his emotional illiteracy for the breakdown of their relationship.

This week, The i Podcast looks at whether King Charles III could be the last monarch of a Commonwealth realm which was born from the British Empire and funded by the proceeds of slavery. Listen here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Acast | Wherever you listen

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