“God Save The Queen” is the national anthem of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Its official status does not derive from Royal Proclamation or Act of Parliament, but from custom and use. Since England has no official national anthem of its own, “God Save The Queen” is treated as the English national anthem as well, especially at sporting events. The tune is also used in a number of Commonwealth realms, their territories, and the British Crown Dependencies.
It can be replaced by “God Save The King” during the reign of a male sovereign, in which case the words and title are adapted to the gender of the current monarch. In these occasions, “Queen” is replaced with “King”, “she” with “he”, and so forth. The author of this anthem is really unknown, although sometimes it is attributed to John Bull, who may have created it in 1619.
Although the full lyrics include a total of 20 verses, in general only one, two or at most three verses are sung. The sovereign and his or her consort, however, are saluted with the entire anthem, while other members of the royal family who are entitled to royal salute receive just the first six bars.
The variation in Britain of the lyrics to “God Save The Queen” is the oldest amongst those currently used, and forms the basis on which all other versions used throughout the Commonwealth are formed. New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Barbados and Tuvalu have their own versions of the anthem.