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Viewers left confused as the second verse of the national anthem is sung at Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral

"It's like someone going into a second verse of Happy Birthday."

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 19th September 2022

Many viewers were left confused as the little-known second verse of the National Anthem was sung at Queen Elizabeth II’s State Funeral.

The nation bid a final farewell to our longest-reigning monarch today.

Around 2,000 guests attended the official State Funeral at Westminster Abbey, including world leaders representing nearly 200 countries and territories, 500 foreign dignitaries – such as politicians, civil servants, and some celebrities – and many ordinary members of the public selected for charitable or community works.

Tens of thousands of mourners also travelled to London and Windsor for the funeral and burial service, and many more were seen gathering at different hubs across the UK to watch the historic event in real-time as it was broadcast.

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Queen Elizabeth II’s children – including the newly-ascended King Charles III and Queen Consort – were in attendance, as were her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and other extended family members.

The service concluded with a two-minute silence, before the national anthem was sung by everyone inside Westminster Abbey.

But it appears not everyone knew the words.

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The British National Anthem is song known by people of all ages, and is sung at countless events, ceremonies, and occasions all throughout the year.

The anthem, in its present form, dates all the way back to the eighteenth century, but historians have claimed that as the words and tune are anonymous, it may in fact date back to sometime in the seventeenth century.

‘God Save The King’ was a patriotic song first publicly performed in London in 1745, and it came to be known as the National Anthem at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

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The Royal Family states that there is no authorised version of the National Anthem, as the words are a matter of tradition, and while additional verses have been added down the years, these are rarely used, which often leaves the words used today being those sung in 1745, and substituting ‘Queen’ for ‘King’ where appropriate.

On official occasions, only the first verse is usually sung – which explains why so many Brits are unfamiliar with the second verse.

This was about as evident as it could be during the State Funeral today.

As Westminster Abbey erupted in a rendition of the national anthem, the song continued after the first verse that most of us know off-by-heart into a second little-known verse, that left many viewers watching at home questioning why the majority just don’t know the words to the full anthem.

Others were just shocked to hear that there even is a second verse in the first place, and many took to social media to share their confusion.

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Others were quick to point out that not only is there as little-known second verse to the National Anthem, but there are even lesser-known third and fourth verses – which are so rarely used, they are not even referenced on the Royal Family’s official website.

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Given just how many people are not able to recite the words to the second verse of the National Anthem, others took the opportunity to call on the public to make an effort to learn it.

In case you were wondering, after all this talk of a second verse, what that second verse actually is, here is the British National Anthem.

Words are taken from the Royal Family’s official website.

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God Save the King

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.

Featured Image – BBC News