VE Day 75th Anniversary

Royal Families around Europe have been commemorating the 75th Anniversary of VE (Victory in Europe) Day, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the celebrations are much changed than what was originally planned but still consisted of a variety of commemorations.

Britain

The Queen made a special address from Windsor Castle on the 75th anniversary of VE Day, which was made at the same hour as her father’s broadcast, exactly 75 years ago:

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 neighbourhoods 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 honour 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 recognise and admire.

I send my warmest good wishes to you all.

Embed from Getty Images

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall led the nation in a two-minute silence, after which they laid a wreath and flowers at the War Memorial in Balmoral. The Prince gave a reading from George VI’s diary on VE Day 1945, and the Duchess also released two excerpts from her father’s memoir, about his time serving with the 12th Royal Lancers in WWII. The Duchess of Cornwall also spoke to two veterans of the 7th Armoured Division

Throughout the day, members of the Royal Family talked to WWII Veterans online. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined veterans for a very special VE Day party at the Royal British Legion’s Mais House Care Home in Sussex. . The Princess Royal (after laying a wreath in the town square of Minchinhampton) spoke with Dorothy Pettican Runnicles, the Earl of Wessex spoke with Veteran Ada, who was 17 when she volunteered for the ATS, and the Countess of Wessex spoke with Louis, an RAF Veteran.

The Queen also gave permission for the forecourt of Buckingham Palace to be used by the BBC for a special VE Day evening of performances.

Norway

King Harald V of Norway was joined by Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon, and Crown Princess Sonja for a ceremony to mark Liberation Day and the National Veterans Day at the Akershus Fortress in Oslo, where the King also gave a Speech.

In addition, Princess Astrid told of her experiences of Liberation Day in 1945, when the Norwegian Royal Family were in exile in the United States.

Belgium

Embed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty Images

King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium attended a ceremony to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Brussels.

The Netherlands

Embed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty Images

On May 4th, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima and Prime Minister Rutte presided over the annual commemoration at the the National Memorial on Dam Square in Amsterdam, when the King also gave a speech.

Denmark

In Denmark, Queen Margrethe spoke about her memories of the Liberation of Denmark and also attended a ceremony, laying a wreath at the large burial ground in Mindelunden. In addition, candles were lit at the windows of the Royal Palaces.

8

2 thoughts on “VE Day 75th Anniversary

  1. Try as it might, this COVID-19 pandemic can’t diminish the solemn gratitude the whole world wants to show to the countless the men and women who gave so much so that we can live in freedom today. They will never be forgotten.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to BlueSaphire70 Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s