The rare royal speech took place exactly 75 years after King George VI, the Queen’s father, addressed the nation on Victory in Europe Day, 1945.
In a short, elegant message the Queen said: “Today it may seem hard that we cannot mark this special anniversary as we would wish. Instead we remember from our homes and from our doorsteps.”
Thanking the wartime generation, the monarch, 94, said: “They risked all so our families and neighbourhoods could be safe. We should and will remember them.”
Victory in Europe (VE) Day marks the day in 1945 when the Allied forces accepted the surrender of Nazi Germany, bringing the war in Europe to an end.
While this year’s commemoration has been limited due to the coronavirus, the Queen said: “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 recognise and admire.”
In reference to the Second World War, the Queen continued: “At the start, the outlook seemed bleak, the end distant, the outcome uncertain. But we kept faith that the cause was right and this belief, as my father noted in his broadcast, carried us through. Never give up, never despair, that was the message of VE Day.”
In homage to those who were killed during the conflict, she said: “They died so we could live as free people in a world of free nations. They risked all so our families and neighbourhoods could be safe.”
Tonight’s national address was only the fifth of the British monarch’s 68-year reign beyond her traditional message on Christmas Day. The other four previous speeches to be aired came after the Queen Mother’s death in 2002, ahead of Diana, Princess of Wales’ funeral in 1997, about the First Gulf War in 1991 and last month as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.
The UK is the country with the second-most coronavirus deaths in the world with 31,241 fatalities and more than 200,000 confirmed cases.
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