Origins of the national anthem

I fear Mr FJ Beck in last week’s paper is in rather a historical muddle over the origins of the national anthem.

It was not written in 1745 nor was it a celebration of a victory of Bonnie Prince Charlie over George II.

It might be a consolation to Mr Beck to know it was originally a song of rebellion, coined by the Jacobites in the early 18th century in a longing for the king over the water, James III, living in exile in Rome, Italy.

It was probably penned in 1721 after the birth of Prince Charles Edward the previous year – hence the second verse commencing: “God bless the Prince of Wales – the true-born Prince of Wales, sent us by thee...”.

The original words are purely geographical: “Send him victorious, happy and glorious – soon to reign over us, God save the King.” This means home from exile in Italy.

This was then turned on a sixpence and was then revived at Drury Lane Theatre in 1745 as a response to the advance of the Highland Army southwards after their victory at Prestonpans and in support of George II.

In reply to his remarks about Mr Jeremy Corbyn – I would say as I said in a recent broadcast, he was at a ceremony as leader of the opposition.

When you take an official position it brings with concomitant public duties.

If you can’t take these on then you should think twice about taking the position.

Recently Her Majesty subdued her private feelings in view of her public position and shook the hands of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, representatives of the organisation that had murdered her uncle Lord Mountbatten.

It is saddening that Mr Corbyn couldn’t bring himself to do the same.

Richard Sumner

Royal correspondent

Sussex and Surrey

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