The evening address was followed by a national singalong of the song "We'll Meet Again"

By Stephanie Petit
May 08, 2020 04:26 PM
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Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth
| Credit: Royal Family/Twitter

Queen Elizabeth is leading the U.K. in its remembrance of the end of World War II in Europe by conjuring memories of her own father's speech to the nation.

The monarch, 94, made the address on May 8 at 9 p.m. — the same time her father, King George VI, gave a radio message at the end of the war in 1945.

The broadcast began with footage of King George VI giving his address 75 years ago, then cut to the Queen with a photo of her father on her desk.

"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," the monarch said. "Never give up, never despair — that was the message of VE Day."

It echoes her throwback phrase to the wartime spirit that she used in her inspiring address from Windsor Castle amid the coronavirus pandemic in April, which she closed with, "We will meet again." The song "We'll Meet Again" was an anthem of the war, sung by Vera Lynn.

The evening address was followed by a national singalong of the tune, and members of the public opened their front doors to join in with the national moment of celebration.

The Queen also addressed how VE Day would feel different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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

The monarch continued, "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."

Prince Charles also took part in the broadcast, reading an extract from his grandfather's diary from that day in 1945.

Additionally, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall led the nation in two minutes of silence. Charles also laid a wreath while his wife placed flowers at the memorial in remembrance of those who died in World War II.

Camilla also included a handwritten note that read: "In memory of my darling father and all the officers and men of the XII Lancers, who fought so bravely to give us peace." Her father, Bruce Shand, served in France as part of the British Expeditionary Force during the war.

The celebrations at the end of WWII brought "one of the most memorable nights of my life," the Queen said in a 1985 broadcast. Having worked in the war effort in a reserve unit, the then 19-year-old royal wore her uniform that evening and headed out among the crowds around the palace with her sister Princess Margaret to join the party.

Royals VE Day
Princess Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth, King George VI and Princess Margaret
| Credit: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty

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The VE Day address by the Queen is the third since she retired to Windsor Castle amid the COVID-19 crisis. She issued a statement when she relocated to Windsor, 30 miles west of London, with her husband Prince Philip, who turns 99 in June, and then made her rare televised address to the world on April 5. She also gave an Easter message.