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The surprising history of “Rule, Britannia!” and Last Night of the Proms

This is not the first time controversy has erupted

By Jason Whittaker  

Photo: Guy Bell/PA Wire

The prime minister has called the decision to remove the lyrics from renditions of “Rule, Britannia!” and “Land of Hope and Glory” at Last Night of the Proms “wet” and a “cringing embarrassment.” On the other side, campaigners like professor Kehinde Andrews claim the songs are “racist propaganda,” and performers such as Lily Allen have called for “Rule, Britannia!” to be banned. A particularly thorny point is the reference to slaves in the song, placing the 18th-century anthem in the middle of 21st-century culture wars about…

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