The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the Royal Family, will attend a Service of Thanksgiving to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day on 10th May at Westminster Abbey.
Prior reports claimed The Queen could miss the commemorations in order to distance herself from any coalition talks following this year’s General Election. With the polls predicting a hung parliament in the upcoming 7th May election, it was reported that Buckingham Palace wanted Her Majesty “one step removed” from any talk of politics just days after the election.
Thankfully, The Queen will be attending the service marking 70 years since Victory in Europe as will Prince Philip, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall and other members of the Royal Family.
Victory in Europe day came on the 8th May 1945, just days after Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had committed suicide. Grand Admiral Donitz, who was President of the Third Reich for just a week, surrendered in the presence of senior officers from Britain, America, France and Russia. After six years of homes being destroyed, loss of civilian life and millions of disrupted lives, the British people began to rejoice.
The immense celebrations that accompanied Victory in Europe Day were just that. Crowds gathered in London as the Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, gave a radio broadcast to the nation whilst King George VI and Queen Elizabeth made eight appearances on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Then Princesse Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret were allowed to mingle with the joyous crowds gathered in front of Buckingham Palace.
The service of commemoration at Westminster Abbey is not the only event planned for the VE Day anniversary. Over 100 beacons will be lit on Friday 8th May to commemorate the event whilst a service at the Cenotaph will also see a two-minute national silence incorporated. On Saturday 9th May, a star-studded concert will be held at Horse Guards Parade featuring a line-up of international recording artists, stars and celebrities all performing to a 1940s theme. The show will be broadcast live on BBC1.
At St James’s Park on Sunday 10th May, a whole host of period vehicles from the 1940s will be on display for all to see. People throughout the country being encouraged to organise street parties, tea parties or just about any themed party to commemorate the VE Day anniversary. Schools across the nation are being urged to hold special VE Day themed assemblies, as a way of encouraging children to learn more about what happened on that day back in 1945.
As celebrations are taking place in London, the Royal British Legion are inviting the veterans of VE Day to take part in these national commemorations. It goes without saying these brave men and women are the heart of the reason for celebrating VE Day.
The invitation is extended to all those who played an active part throughout the Second World War including those who served in the military, the Home Guard or any one of the reserved occupations.
At the 65th anniversary of VE Day in 2010, The Prince of Wales led tributes as he and The Duchess of Cornwall laid a wreath at the Cenotaph ahead of a reception at Horse Guards Parade.
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Featured Photo Credit: Michael Garnett