Sex Pistols Frontman John Lydon Honors Queen Elizabeth II – ‘Send Her Victorious’

Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, honored the death of Queen Elizabeth II with a short and respectful statement: “Rest in Peace Queen Elizabeth II,” Lydon tweeted shortly after the Queen died. “Send her victorious.”

The “send her victorious” quote was taken from “God Save The Queen,” which is Great Britain’s national anthem, but also the title of the Sex Pistols’ own rebellious punk anthem. The Sex Pistols seemingly dragged the Queen in their song referring to her as “no human being” and “no future” for England.

While many Sex Pistols fans thought “God Save the Queen” was a dig at the monarchy, Lydon said the song was never about Queen Elizabeth and he was always fond of her.

John Lydon said Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save the Queen’ was not about Queen Elizabeth

In an interview shortly after the EP was released, Lydon clarified the meaning behind the song. “I mean the bloody record isn’t about the Queen. It’s about what you feel about the f****** woman,” he said. “She’s probably just like everybody else but like watching her on telly, as far as I’m concerned, she ain’t no human being.”

Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon crouches during a performance, which often included 'God Save the Queen'
John Lydon| Chris Morphet/Redferns

He added that the Queen is not in control of her life. “She’s a piece of cardboard that they drag around on a trolley,” he said. “Like, go here, Queen, go there. And she does it, blindly, cos she’s in a rut. She does get in a rut, but there’s always a way out.”

Johnny Rotten was actually quite fond of the Queen

Lydon recently clarified how he felt about the Queen.

“You mustn’t presume that I’m completely dead against the royal family as human beings,” he told Piers Morgan on Talk TV. ” I’m not; I’m actually really, really proud of the queen for surviving and doing so well. I applaud her for that; that’s a fantastic achievement.”

“I’m not a curmudgeon about that,” Lydon insisted. “I just think that if I’m paying my tax money to support this system, I should have a say-so on how it’s spent. I think it’s quite possibly the end of the monarchy because Prince Charles is not going to be able to handle it. This is the man that plays Pink Floyd to his cabbages.”

“That’s a shame in itself too, because I do love pageantry; I’m a football fan, how could I not?” he added. “I like watching royal weddings because I really did enjoy watching spitfires and B-52s and the likes flying over the palace. I get quite emotional with all that.”

‘God Save the Queen’ debuted during the 1977 Queen’s Silver Jubilee – on purpose

The original title for “God Save the Queen” was “No Future.” And for shock value, the punk band planned to release “God Save the Queen” during the 1977 Queen’s Silver Jubilee festival – likely to elevate the thrasher song’s visibility.

Of course, the BBC promptly banned the song after its release, so Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren went another route and planned a motley boat procession that passed by the houses of Parliament. “Before the police came, it was a great party. Make that a capital G,” reporter Jon Savage told the Guardian.