Louis XIV

An anal fistula that plagued Louis XIV in 1686 led to the creation of the British anthem, musicologists say. The misplaced abscess was successfully removed, and the king, it is said, showed great courage since there was no anesthesia. To support the king, Madame de Maintenon, Louis’s secret wife after the death of Marie-Thérèse, asked Lully to compose a hymn. The text was written by Madame de Brinon, superior of the Royal House of Saint-Louis. During the operation, the Demoiselles de Saint-Cyr were singing this composition.

About how this music became the official English hymn is not totally clear. Possibly Handel, then the official composer of the British King George I, heard Lully’s hymn in 1714 in Versailles. He wrote it down, had the text adapted into English.

The other track comes from the house of Stuart. James Stuart, who reigned in England as James II, lived in exile in France from 1689 where he heard the hymn and decided to adopt it when he would come back on the throne. This never happened as he died in exile in 1701. His son, James III, tried several times to recover his throne. In a final attempt, in August 1745, his supporters sang the famous song.

Whatever is true, God save the King is today the most famous hymn in the world and owes its birth to an injury to the royal posterior of Louis XIV

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