God save the Queen is the national anthem of the United Kingdom and one of the best known in the world. Did you know that he is of French origin?
An anal fistula at the origin of the anthem
The original song, Great God saves the King, dates back to 1686, when the Duchess of Brinon composed it. It was then set to music by the famous Jean-Baptiste Lully. Superintendent of music at the court, he intended to celebrate, through this work, the healing of Louis XIV, who suffered from an anal fistula that could lead to serious complications. To hope for a cure, the King of France had to undergo surgery. But such an operation, at the time, was very risky. The wound had to be opened to clean it. Louis XIV delayed the deadline as much as possible. But after months of pain, the king finally resigned himself to undergo this delicate intervention.
A hymn to support Louis XIV
To support her husband, Madame de Maintenon asks Lully to compose a hymn. The text is written by Madame de Brinon, Superior of the Royal House of Saint-Louis, created by the Marquise. During the operation, the Demoiselles de Saint-Cyr sing this composition. They will then interpret it at each of the king’s visits to the Royal House of Saint-Louis. The original French lyrics say this: “Great God save the King / Long days to our King! / Long live the King / Victory is his / Happiness and glory Subsequently, this song became essential at Versailles. It would probably have fallen into oblivion if, twenty-eight years later, Georg Friedrich Handel, composer of the English court, during a visit to Versailles, had not fallen under the spell of this song. He then took up the tune and had the lyrics translated, almost word for word, before presenting it to his king, under the title of God save the King.
An immediate success
The success was immediate, so much so that the hymn was adopted in 1745 as the anthem of the kingdom. Since 1837, it alternates with the God save the Queen, when a woman is on the throne. A crime of lèse-majesté Now, God save the Queen is one of the best-known hymns in the world. The British anthem was also taken up and adapted by English rock groups like Queen or the punks of the Sex Pistols. Now a classic in the history of rock, this 1977 track by the Sex Pistols scandalized England at the time.