7 MAY 2020
601 International House, W1B 2QD
From the Communications Office
7 May 2020
Subject: VE Day 75: The Queen’s Address
Throughout her long, historic, and record-breaking reign, Her Majesty, the Queen, has given only four addresses to her people in a time of exceptional circumstance, with the exception of the current health crisis that Europe and the world currently find themselves battling against. Knowing full well the struggles, horrors, and bonds of national unity associated with times of struggle and national consciousness, Her Majesty has not only experienced service as an ATS volunteer during WWII but has also experienced the jubilant atmosphere as a civilian, outside the gates of Buckingham Palace exactly seventy-five years ago.
During the war, a young Princess Elizabeth, and her sister, Princess Margaret Rose, took to the radio waves to speak to the children of the nation affected by Nazi aggression and the displacement and evacuation of London’s children to the countryside. As Queen, she again spoke of the war in her 24 February 1991 address referencing the Gulf War. On 5 September 1997, Her Majesty addressed the nation on the even of Diana, Princess of Wales’s funeral, and on a similarly solemn occasion used a national address on 8 April 2002, to pay tribute to The Queen Mother on the announcement of her death. This address was poignant as it was made exactly one month to the day before the marking of the 57th anniversary of VE Day, a celebration of which Her Majesty, The Queen Mother always marked in public as well as in private. On 5 June 2012, the Queen addressed the nation on the event of her Diamond Jubilee – a historic event to which only one other British monarch has reached, her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria.
As of her Diamond Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth II has addressed her people around the globe only a small number of times, a number that will nearly be doubled with her VE Day address to her people on 8 May 2020. Since April 2020, the Queen has addressed her people twice, with a third address due to be delivered tomorrow. This will be three national addresses in two months, as opposed to the four the monarch has delivered since the start of her reign in 1952. on 5 April 2020 Her Majesty addressed the nation regarding the Coronavirus Pandemic and further addressed the nation with her first-ever audio recorded Easter broadcast from Windsor Castle on 11 April 2020, from which quotes from her address were shown on digital boards within Piccadilly Circus.
As we commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE day, in the 68th year of her reign, the Queen will once again take to the use of a national broadcast to reach her people around the globe as we celebrate Victory in Europe amidst the backdrop of the battle against the current health crisis. Unlike past celebrations of this special and historic day in our international story, there will be no street parties, no national gatherings of state celebration or remembrance, and certainly no public offering for the Queen and her family to lead tributes to those who fought valiantly for Crown & Country during the Second World War. What we will have will be greater than any star-studded musical extravaganza played out for all to see. – we will have each other. Though we are in the midst of some of the most trying days since the end of the war, this nation will prevail and persevere. We are all in this together, and we will further be comforted on this 75th anniversary of VE Day by the continuity expressed through the resilience of the British public, and more importantly by the presence and symbolism provided by Her Majesty, the Queen.
As we stop tomorrow to enjoy a special May bank holiday, we should always be mindful to remember the sacrifices made, and the lives not only lost but those also saved, from 1939 to 1945. This important day is one that will allow us to reflect on, and relate to, how it felt and now feels to come together as one nation, to defend a dangerous common enemy. We should look towards Her Majesty not only as a veteran of the Second World War but as a national beacon of celebration during this VE Day commemoration. Under The Crown, we are one unified people, especially in the clear and present time of uncertainty. Now is a time to remember the part that not only our forefathers played to protect the freedoms we currently enjoy, but to thank Her Majesty and her family for the strength, inspirations, example, and guidance they gave throughout the darkest days of the war and have continued to provide uninterruptedly to this day.
We do hope that you will all listen to Her Majesty’s VE Day address and join in with the nation to sing “We’ll Meet Again”. Nothing lasts forever and we will soon be able to be together in the company of our friends and family after these hard and trying times have passed. God Bless and remember to do your part to keep everyone safe and healthy.
VE DAY 75 EVENTS:
- Official commemorations begin at 11 am on 8 May with a nationwide two-minute silence, and Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will record a special reflection and moment of prayer to mark the day.
- Katherine Jenkins, with special guest Dame Vera Lynn, will perform some of the wartime darlings’ most famous songs from the Royal Albert Hall.
- The “VE 75” celebrations will be led by Her Majesty with an address to the nation, with her pre-recorded televised address broadcast on the BBC at 9 pm – the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address on May 8, 1945.
- After the broadcast, the public will be invited to join a moment of celebration and thanksgiving by taking part in a rendition of Forces’ Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn’s wartime anthem “We’ll Meet Again“, during a BBC One program of music and memories.
- Prince Charles will read the diary entry for 8 May 1945 from the wartime journal of his grandfather, which describes VE Day, including the royal family’s memorable Buckingham Palace balcony appearances.
VE DAY TIMETABLE:
- 11 am — Two-minute national silence to remember the declaration of victory and the end of the Second World War in Europe.
- 2.45 pm – 3.45 pm — The first of two special BBC One programs to mark VE75, including an extract from Sir Winston Churchill’s victory speech delivered at 3 pm on VE Day.
- Afternoon — Britons encouraged to hold 1940s-style afternoon tea parties at home rather than street parties, including homemade bunting and recipes from the era.
- 6 pm – Katherine Jenkins will perform a special concert from behind closed doors at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Friday (8 May) in celebration of the 75th anniversary of VE Day. The Welsh singer will record a 30-minute performance in the empty auditorium, which will then be streamed online. The performance will be streamed on the Royal Albert Hall website, and on the venue’s YouTube channel, on Friday 8 May at 6 pm. The concert will mark the first time an artist has performed behind closed doors in the venue’s 150-year history and will help to support the Armed Forces charity SSAFA, along with the venue’s fundraising appeal.
- 9 pm — Address by the Queen followed by national doorstep rendition of Dame Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again”.
FOR RELEASE 09:00 GMT 7 MAY 2020