Queen Elizabeth II addresses UK on 75th VE Day
Queen Elizabeth II addressed the U.K. and Commonwealth on May 8 for the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day that marks the end of World War II in Europe.
“I speak to you today at the same hour as my father did, exactly 75 years ago,” the Queen said. “Never give up, never despair - that was the message of VE Day.
“Today it may seem hard that we cannot mark this special anniversary as we would wish,” the Queen said in her first address since she spoke to the U.K. on April 5 amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“Instead we remember from our homes and our doorsteps. But our streets are not empty; they are filled with the love and the care that we have for each other.
“And when I look at our country today, and see what we are willing to do to protect and support one another, I say with pride that we are still a nation those brave soldiers, sailors and airmen would recognize and admire,” she said.
Excluding her yearly Christmas messages, Friday’s speech is only the sixth specially televised broadcast the queen, 94, has delivered in her 65-year-reign, which is the longest of any British monarch.
The other five were the First Gulf War in 1991, the eve of the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997, the death of the Queen Mother in 2002 and her Diamond Jubilee the 60th anniversary of her reign in 2012, and during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
The speech was followed by a public rendition of the wartime song, We’ll Meet Again by Dame Vera Lynn on the doorstops of Britain.
Earlier, Charles, Prince of Wales, led a national two-minute period of silence at 11 a.m. local time.
The U.K. is still under lockdown because of the coronavirus, which forced plans celebrations for the day to be canceled.
House of Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle laid a wreath at Westminster on behalf of the House of Commons, with Lord West laying a wreath on behalf of the House of Lords.
The BBC broadcast the original announcement of victory with Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s speech announcing the end of the war in Europe on May 8, 1945.
Royal Navy ships around the world sounded sirens for a minute to mark Churchill’s speech.