"God Save the Queen" (alternatively "God Save the King" during the reign of a male sovereign) is an anthem used in the Commonwealth realms and their territories. The words and title are adapted to the gender of the current monarch, i.e. replacing "Queen" with "King", "she" with "he", and so forth, when a king reigns. The author of the tune is unknown, and it may originate in plainchant, but a 1619 attribution to John Bull is sometimes made.
"God Save the Queen" is the de facto British national anthem. It is one of two national anthems for New Zealand (since 1977) and for the Imperial Dominions of the British Empire which have their own additional local anthems. It is the royal anthem of Australia (since 1984) and Canada (since 1980). In countries not previously part of the British Empire, the tune of "God Save the Queen" has provided the basis for various patriotic songs, though still generally connected with royal ceremony. In the United States, the British anthem's melody was used for the patriotic "My Country, 'Tis of Thee".
Beyond its first verse, which is consistent, it has many historic and extant versions: Since its first publication, different verses have been added and taken away and, even today, different publications include various selections of verses in various orders. In general, only one verse is sung. Sometimes two verses are sung, and on rare occasions, three.
The sovereign and his or her consort are saluted with the entire anthem, while other members of the royal family who are entitled to royal salute (such as the Prince or Princess of Wales) receive just the first six bars. The first six bars also form all or part of the Viceregal Salute in the Commonwealth realms outside the UK (e.g., in Canada, governors general and lieutenant governors at official events are saluted with the first six bars of "God Save the Queen" followed by the first four and last four bars of "O Canada"), as well as the salute given to governors of British territories.