Queen Elizabeth II delivered a special address to the nation on 8 May to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe Day), commemorating the end of the Second World War.
VE Day 75: The People's Celebration marked memories and music to celebrate and honour the Second World War generation. The Queen's speech took place at 9 p.m., which is the exact time her father, King George VI, announced the victory in Europe during his radio address in 1945. "Never give up, never despair, that was the message of VE Day," the Queen said in her address. "They risked all so our families and neighbourhoods could be safe. We should and will remember them."
The Queen ended her speech with a message of positivity: "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." The address was followed by an incredibly heartwarming nationwide public sing-along by key workers of Dame Vera Lynn's wartime classic "We'll Meet Again."
Last year, the government announced that the UK's early May bank holiday was moved from the 4th to the 8th to coincide with the 75th anniversary, with the expectation of street parties and celebrations for the day. However, as the UK is still battling the COVID-19 outbreak and celebrations were put on hold, the VE Day 75: The People's Celebration helped celebrate the WW2 generation currently in lockdown. "We want to let them know that we have not forgotten the peace that they won for us, that we are thinking of them and that they are not alone," the BBC said in a statement.
The speech comes just over a month after the Queen gave a rare off-calendar address to the nation, where she expressed her gratitude for key workers and NHS front-line staff and reassured the UK that "better days will return."