Is The British National Anthem Actually French?

God Save The Queen is the British national anthem and also serves as the melody for the anthems of Liechtenstein (Oben am jungen Rhein) and Norway (Kongesangen). But do we know who wrote it?

In 1686, Louis XIV was in poor health due to an anal fistula and Marie de Brinon, headmistress of the Royal Girls’ School in Saint-Cyr, found inspiration in the psalm of David to write the Latin cantata Domine salvum fac regem (God Save The King) to wish him well.


While convalescing after his operation, Louis XIV visited the school and was greeted by the pupils singing “Grand Dieu, sauvez le Roi!”, which had been set to music by Jean-Baptiste Lully. It eventually became the French national anthem and remained in use until 1792.

It is said that Handel heard the piece in Paris in 1714 and translated it upon his return to London, although it is sometimes attributed to John Bull. Either way, it was adopted by the Hanover dynasty after the Battle of Culloden and became the British national anthem in 1746.