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National Anthems of Scotland and Wales

Wales Flag

Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau is the unofficial national anthem of Wales (the official one being God Save the Queen). The title – taken from the first words of the song – means “Old Land of My Fathers” in Welsh, but is more commonly known as  “Land of My Fathers”. Accounts suggest that the words were written by Evan James and the tune composed by his son James James in January 1856, though there is some argument over which was written first and when. Both were residents of Pontypridd, Glamorgan. The earliest written copy survives and is part of the collections of the National Library of Wales.

Glan Rhondda (Banks of the Rhondda), as it was known when it was composed, was first performed in either January or February 1856, by Elizabeth John from Pontypridd, and soon became popular. James James, the composer, was a harpist who played his instrument in the public house he ran, for the purpose of dancing. The song was originally intended to be performed in 6/8 time, but had to be slowed down to its present rhythm when it began to be sung by large crowds. Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau was sung along with God Save the Prince of Wales and God Save the Queen before sporting events until 1975, when sports officials decided that “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau” should be sung alone.



Flower of Scotland is a Scottish song that is used at special occasions and sporting events, was written by Roy Williamson of the folk group The Corries, and presented in 1967. It refers to the victory of the Scots, led by Robert the Bruce, over England’s Edward II at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Although there is no official national anthem of Scotland (God Save the Queen has been rejected because it contains the line “Rebellious Scots to crush”), Flower of Scotland is one of a number of songs which unofficially fulfils this role, along with the older Scots Wha Hae, Scotland the Brave and the more recent Highland Cathedral.

The song has been used as a National Anthem by the Scotland national rugby union team since 1974, after  Billy Steele, a winger for the Scottish team, encouraged his team-mates to sing it on the victorious Lions tour of South Africa. The song was adopted as the pre-game anthem during the deciding match of the 1990 Five Nations Championship between Scotland and England. The Scottish Football Association adopted “Flower of Scotland” as its pre-game national anthem in 1997, although reports suggest it was first used by them in 1993.


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