Queen Elizabeth Ordered the Star-Spangled Banner Played During Guard Ceremony After 9/11

AP Photo/Markus Schreiber

Breaking hundreds of years of tradition, the late Queen Elizabeth II ordered the band of the Coldstream Guards to play the American national anthem, the Star Spangled Banner, during the famed Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace on September 13, 2001. It was just 24 hours after the horrific tragedies of 9/11 struck the United States, and while we were still in profound shock.



What is the Changing of the Guard? It’s an ancient tradition that still draws millions of tourists from all over the world to this day. The Buckingham Palace website describes it thusly:

Carried out by soldiers on active duty from the Foot Guards who have guarded the Sovereign and the Royal Palaces since 1660, the sight of their famous bearskin hats and red tunics is indelibly linked with Buckingham Palace and the British Monarchy.

Accompanied by a full military band playing a selection of music ranging from traditional marches to songs from musicals and familiar pop songs, the ceremony is both a colourful military tradition and an important reminder of the close relationship between the Armed Forces and their Head: The Queen.

The Queen passed away Thursday at the age of 96 and was the longest-serving monarch in British history.

In 2010, she visited Ground Zero, the site in New York City where the Twin Towers fell. On the twentieth anniversary of the attacks in 2021, meanwhile, the Queen repeated the gracious gesture of having the U.S. national anthem played at the Guard ceremony, and ordered it performed once more:



She issued a statement at the time to President Joe Biden to commemorate America’s loss:

As we mark the 20th anniversary of the terrible attacks on 11th September 2001, my thoughts and prayers – and those of my family and the entire nation – remain with the victims, survivors, and families affected, as well as the first responders and rescue workers called to duty.

My visit to the site of the World Trade Center in 2010 is held fast in my memory. It reminds me that as we honor those from many nations, faiths, and backgrounds who lost their lives, we also pay tribute to the resilience and determination of the communities who joined together to rebuild.

While America and Britain have sometimes clashed in our history like battling siblings, the two countries have also been each other’s most important allies, and we’ve stood beside each other for two world wars and have staunchly defended each other against communism, Nazism and other “isms.” As Leftists like MSNBC’s Ali Vashi take this ill-timed opportunity to bash the monarchy (he hysterically got roundly dunked on by an actual historian), it’s important to remember that many (most) countries have terrible things in their past. The United Kingdom is no exception. However, that doesn’t simply erase the many good things in its long history.


Queen Elizabeth II’s remarkable kindness in playing The Star Spangled Banner was a class act, and it was an extremely welcome gesture as the traumatized United States mourned the terrorist attacks. It’s moves like these that made her so beloved to so many.


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