Made in France: the only recording of God Save the King available | King Charles III
If you want to listen to a recording of the revamped British national anthem, you’ll probably have to rely on an unlikely source: a French opera singer.
The accession of Charles III made recordings of God Save the Queen redundant, with official lyrics updated to reflect the fact that a man is on the throne and pay homage to a “graceful king”.
Yet since Queen Elizabeth II became monarch in 1952, there’s been little to no reason for anyone to post a version of God Save the King for the past 70 years. A handful of older recordings were made, but they used more basic technology with old-school gramophone recordings in mind.
The only high-quality version of the current British national anthem readily available on streaming services such as Spotify is by Arnaud Kientz, 51, an opera singer and teacher in Paris.
He said he did his version in 2017 while recording other anthems. “I’m an opera singer and I was asked to record La Marseillaise,” he said. “Perhaps the only most famous hymns in the world are God Save the Queen and the American one. The following year they asked me to record God Save the Queen – and God Save the King.
Kientz said there were no particular plans to have a version ready for Charles to join. “We weren’t thinking about the Queen’s death at all and we’re so sorry about that, everyone is,” he said. “Woman was so important in our life.”
Kientz’s recording of God Save the King had been largely ignored, but it has recently been played hundreds of thousands of times as people search for a version with the correct words. Many public events simply play the instrumental version unchanged, but for now it’s a Frenchman who has the market for the lyrical version of the British national anthem all to himself.
Some record companies have started changing the titles of old God Save the Queen instrumental recordings to boost search results on streaming services, and more recordings are expected to be released soon. Welsh soprano Katherine Jenkins has already made one for the BBC, but it is not commercially available. .
For now, it’s much easier to find a recording of Liechtenstein’s national anthem Oben Am Jungen Rhein – High Above the Young Rhine – an ode to the microstate’s alpine location that shares the same melody as its British equivalent.
Kientz, who has traveled around the UK, said he didn’t expect his recording of God Save the King to do much: “I really like this anthem because it’s very vocal, you have a lot to do. I didn’t do it for the money, I did it for the fun,” he said.