It’s a tradition that dates back to the 1960s, when the channel first launched.
But listeners were caught off guard when the national anthem was played at 7am on BBC Radio 4 this morning to mark Prince Charles’s 69th birthday.
In fact, some said they had initially been concerned about what major news event had taken place, with one person saying it had ‘scared the hell’ out of him.
Meanwhile, others criticised the fact that Radio 4 still played the national anthem to mark royal birthdays, while a few joked that it was a ‘kick in the teeth’ for Charles to have God Save The Queen played on his birthday.
BBC Radio 4 played the national anthem to mark Prince Charles’s 69th birthday today, leaving some viewers very confused
Radio 4 and Radio 2 both play the national anthem to mark the birthdays of the Queen, the Prince Of Wales, and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Despite the long-standing tradition, many listeners were surprised when they woke up to hear God Save The Queen.
One person wrote: ‘Today programme playing GSTQ [for] Prince Charles today scared the hell out of me in bed. Really thought we’d been invaded.’
Another added: ‘Did @BBCr4today just play national anthem for Prince Charles b/c it’s his birthday? Why not play ‘Happy Birthday’ #notaboutthequeen’.
Some listeners admitted they were concerned a major news event had taken place, with one person writing ‘Really thought we’d been invaded’
Others described waking up to the national anthem as ‘weird’. One listener commented ‘Why not play “Happy Birthday’ #notaboutthequeen’
When does Radio 4 play the national anthem?
The channel plays God Save the Queen at 7am on the Queen’s official and actual birthday, as well as the birthdays of the Prince of Wales and Duke Of Edinburgh.
The broadcaster also plays the national anthem once a day, following the Shipping Forecast.
Others criticised the fact that the BBC still plays the national anthem to mark royal birthdays.
Broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer wrote: ‘Give me a break.
‘The #Today programme playing the national anthem for Prince Charles’s birthday. What century are we in?’
Another Twitter user added: ‘Do they always play a snippet of our grim national anthem during the Today programme to mark Prince Charles’s birthday?
‘Thought I’d stepped back to the 50s’.
Meanwhile, others – including broadcaster Julia Hartley-Brewer – criticised the fact that the BBC still play the national anthem to mark Charles’s birthday
Others joked that it was a ‘kick in the teeth’ for Charles to have God Save the Queen played on his birthday
Some meanwhile joked whether it was ‘trolling’ Prince Charles to play the national anthem, with one person remarking: ‘Lets really rub it in!!’
The BBC had previously considered whether to only play God Save The Queen song on ‘significant’ royal birthdays, but has decided to keep the tradition in tact.
The national anthem is still played once a day at the end of Radio 4’s night-time shows, following the Shipping Forecast.