To mark the 65th anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation, Guernsey Stamps is delighted to depict Her Majesty at numerous events, including her 80th birthday and Golden Jubilee celebrations.

The stamps depict some of the words from the British National Anthem ‘God Save The Queen’ (also called ‘God Save the King’ during kingship), whose origins, in its present form, date back to the eighteenth century.

The origin of both words and the music is unknown, although its many candidates for authorship include John Bull (c.1562 -1628), Thomas Ravenscroft (c. 1583 – c. 1633), Henry Purcell (c. 1639 – 95), and Henry Carey (c. 1687 – 1743). ‘God Save The King’ was first publicly performed in London in 1745, which came to be known as the National Anthem at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

In September 1745, Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the ‘Young Pretender’, defeated the army of King George II at Prestonpans, near Edinburgh.

Upon news of the defeat reaching London, the leader of the band at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, arranged ‘God Save The King’ to be performed after a play. It was a huge success and was repeated nightly, quickly spreading to other theatres.

Soon after, it became customary to greet monarchs with the song as they entered a place of public entertainment. From Great Britain, the melody passed to continental Europe, where it was particularly popular in Germany and Scandinavia, with a variety of different lyrics.

There is no official version of the National Anthem, as the words are a matter of tradition. Additional verses have been added down the years, but are rarely used.

In total, around 140 composers, including Beethoven, Haydn and Brahms, have used the tune in their compositions.


Based on information supplied by the Guernsey Post Office, Philatelic Section, St Peter Port, Guernsey, Channel Islands.

Andreas Menelaou


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