‘Land Of Hope And Glory’ and ‘Rule, Britannia!’ will now be sung at BBC Proms

The corporation previously announced that the songs would only feature as instrumentals.

The BBC has confirmed that ‘Rule, Britannia!’ and ‘Land Of Hope And Glory’ will now be sung by a select group of vocalists during the Last Night Of The Proms.

The announcement comes after the corporation previously announced that the songs would only feature as instrumentals, after facing criticism over their historic links with colonialism and slavery.

While more than 100 singers normally perform ‘Rule, Britannia!’, a spokesperson for the BBC Proms confirmed the change in arrangement was a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.

A statement confirmed: “The pandemic means a different Proms this year and one of the consequences, under COVID-19┬árestrictions, is we are not able to bring together massed voices.

The audience at the Royal Albert Hall wave their flags and sing along jubilantly during the climax of the Last Night Of The Proms at Royal Albert Hall on September 8, 2012 in London, United Kingdom. CREDIT: Nicky J. Sims/Redferns via Getty Images

“For that reason we took the artistic decision not to sing Rule, Britannia! and Land Of Hope And Glory in the hall.”

They added: “We have been looking hard at what else might be possible and we have a solution.

“Both pieces will now include a select group of BBC singers. This means the words will be sung in the hall, and as we have always made clear, audiences will be free to sing along at home. While it can’t be a full choir, and we are unable to have audiences in the hall, we are doing everything possible to make it special and want a Last Night truly to remember.

“We hope everyone will welcome this solution. We think the night itself will be a very special moment for the country – and one that is much needed after a difficult period for everyone.

“It will not be a usual Last Night, but it will be a night not just to look forward to, but to remember.”

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Oliver Dowden responded on Twitter, writing: “Pleased to see common sense has prevailed on the BBC Proms.”

The proms are usually attended by around 6,000 people, but this year’s performances will take place without an audience.