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Queen Elizabeth Pays Tribute to Her Father in a Moving Address to Mark the 75th Anniversary of VE Day

“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.

windsor, england   may 08 news editorial use only no commercial use including any use in merchandising, advertising or any other non editorial use in this handout provided by buckingham palace, queen elizabeth ii addresses the nation and the commonwealth on the 75th anniversary of ve day at windsor castle on may 8, 2020 in windsor, england photo by buckingham palace via getty images
Handout

Exactly 75 years ago, King George VI made an historic address to his nation as Britons took to the streets to celebrate the end of World War II in Europe. And today, his daughter Queen Elizabeth II spoke of “pride that we are still a nation those brave soldiers, sailors, and airmen would recognize and admire” in an address to mark the milestone anniversary of VE Day.

The speech, which was recorded in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle, was played as part of the BBC’s VE Day commemorations at 9 p.m. in the UK—the exact time the King spoke in 1945.

A photograph of King George VI in his Admiral of the Fleet uniform with RAF Wings was on the table next to the Queen during the broadcast. Placed to her other side was the cap she wore when she served in the Auxiliary Territorial Services during the Second World War, becoming the only female member of the royal family to join the Armed Forces as a full-time and active member. Behind her was a photograph of the royal family and Winston Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on VE Day.

victory wave
The royal family stand alongside Winston Churchill waving from the balcony of Buckingham Palace during VE Day celebrations in 1945.
Reg SpellerGetty Images

幸运飞艇分析软件自动Beginning her broadcast with the words, “I speak to you today at the same hour as my father did, exactly 75 years ago,” the Queen went on to honor those who lost their lives in the “terrible conflict.”

幸运飞艇分析软件自动“They fought so we could live in peace, at home and abroad,” she said. “They died so we could live as free people in a world of free nations. They risked all so our families and neighborhoods could be safe. We should and will remember them.”

princess elizabeth
Princess Elizabeth, appears by an Auxiliary Territorial Service first aid truck wearing an officer’s uniform in 1945.
KeystoneGetty Images

幸运飞艇分析软件自动The Queen also recalled her own memories of VE Day, saying, “I vividly remember the jubilant scenes my sister and I witnessed with our parents and Winston Churchill from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. The sense of joy in the crowds who gathered outside and across the country was profound, though while we celebrated the victory in Europe, we knew there would be further sacrifice.”

幸运飞艇分析软件自动And she described how the “best way to honor those who did not come back from the war, was to ensure that it didn’t happen again. The greatest tribute to their sacrifice is that countries who were once sworn enemies are now friends, working side by side for the peace, health and prosperity of us all.”

The Queen’s address comes towards the end of a day of commemorations across the UK, which included Prince Charles and Camilla leading a two-minute silence at 11 a.m. from their home in Scotland. Charles also read an excerpt from the diary of King George VI later in the day and Camilla read extracts from her father Major Bruce Shand’s memoirs of the war.

Below, a full transcript of the Queen's address:

I speak to you today at the same hour as my father did, exactly 75 years ago. His message then was a salute to the men and women at home and abroad who had sacrificed so much in pursuit of what he rightly called a “great deliverance”.

The war had been a total war; it had affected everyone, and no one was immune from its impact. Whether it be the men and women called up to serve; families separated from each other; or people asked to take up new roles and skills to support the war effort, all had a part to play. 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. I vividly remember the jubilant scenes my sister and I witnessed with our parents and Winston Churchill from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. The sense of joy in the crowds who gathered outside and across the country was profound, though while we celebrated the victory in Europe, we knew there would be further sacrifice. It was not until August that fighting in the Far East ceased and the war finally ended.

Many people laid down their lives in that terrible conflict. They fought so we could live in peace, at home and abroad. They died so we could live as free people in a world of free nations. They risked all so our families and neighborhoods could be safe. We should and will remember them.

As I now reflect on my father’s words and the joyous celebrations, which some of us experienced first-hand, I am thankful for the strength and courage that the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and all our allies displayed.

The wartime generation knew that the best way to honor those who did not come back from the war, was to ensure that it didn’t happen again. The greatest tribute to their sacrifice is that countries who were once sworn enemies are now friends, working side by side for the peace, health and prosperity of us all.

Today it may seem hard that we cannot mark this special anniversary as we would wish. 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.

I send my warmest good wishes to you all.
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