Why King Charles III Didn’t Sing British National Anthem During His Coronation

Among the chorus of people singing the British national anthem during King Charles’ May 6 coronation one person remained silent: the Monarch. Here’s why the King didn’t sing.

By Meaghan Kirby May 06, 2023 11:59 AMTags
Watch: King Charles III's Coronation: EVERYTHING We Know!

Well, it would be a touch awkward for King Charles III to wax on about saving himself. 

After the 74-year-old was formally crowned during the May 6 ceremony at Westminster Abbey, the more than 2000 guests—including his wife Queen Camilla and sons Prince William and Prince Harry—joined in the chorus of "God Save the King," the British national anthem. One person not singing? The King himself.

And the reason for this is actually quite simple. The national anthem is sung to the reigning monarch so it's in tradition for them to not sing along. As such, the anthem is a slightly adjusted version to the one sung to Queen Elizabeth II

For the late sovereign's 70-year reign, the song was known as "God Save the Queen," with the title and lyrics of the nearly 300-year-old anthem shifting from "Queen" to "King" when Charles acceded the throne immediately following her death in September.

All About King Charles III's Reign

In fact, during Queen Elizabeth's Sept. 19 funeral, Charles appeared emotional as mourners at sang along to "God Save the King."


But the national anthem is just one of many changes to come as Charles adjusts to life as monarch. This includes being the new face of the U.K.'s currency, which has featured Queen Elizabeth's face on all banknotes since 1960. 

The Bank of England confirmed in September that it would be printing new money featuring Charles' portrait to begin circulating sometime in 2024. However, the King's late mother will continue to be memorialized on the pound as currency printed during her reign will still be considered valid. 

In addition to being honored on the U.K.'s currency, the late monarch's been the subject of several subtle tributes from her family—most recently on Charles and Camilla's coronation invitations. And Charles has made it clear that the homages to his mom won't stop there. During his first public address as King, he praised the late Queen's leadership and vowed to bring that tenacity to his own reign. 

 "Throughout her life, Her Majesty The Queen—my beloved Mother—was an inspiration and example to me and to all my family, and we owe her the most heartfelt debt any family can owe to their mother; for her love, affection, guidance, understanding and example," he said in the Sept. 9 speech. "Queen Elizabeth was a life well lived; a promise with destiny kept and she is mourned most deeply in her passing. That promise of lifelong service I renew to you all today."

Keep reading for a glimpse at all the must-see moments from the regal day.

The Royal Family
Prince Louis & Prince George
King Charles III & Queen Camilla
The Royal Family
Prince Harry
The Flyover
The Royal Family
Princess Anne
Prince Louis & Princess Charlotte
Kate Middleton
Prince Louis
Kate Middleton, Princess Charlotte & Prince Louis
Coronation Procession
Prince Edward
Katy Perry
Lady Louise Windsor & Duchess Sophie
Princess Charlotte & Kate Middleton
King Charles
Princess Charlotte
Prince Willam & King Charles
Kate Middleton
King Charles & Queen Camilla
Prince Louis & Kate Middleton
King Charles & Queen Camilla
King Charles III
Pages of Honour
Kate Middleton
Queen Camilla
King Charles & Queen Camilla
State Trumpeters
View More Photos From King Charles III's Coronation: Every Must-See Moment
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