They were the words spoken by a king as a country looked to him for inspiration and, legend has it, they were handed to him by the heir who would go on to make history. During Britain’s first Christmas of World War Two in 1939, George VI broadcast to the country and quoted a few lines of a poem which became forever associated with him. In fact, they are so much a part of his story that they are now carved on his tomb at Windsor.
They come from ‘The Gate of the Year’, a poem by Minnie Louise Haskins. It was a favourite of George’s wife, Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother and the King included them in his broadcast to offer hope and inspiration. Later, it was said that the poem was passed to George VI ahead of the recording by his elder daughter, Elizabeth, now the Queen.
Elizabeth II is said to take great comfort from these words, even now, and they provided solace to millions when they were used in that famous royal broadcast in 1939. As commemorations take place to mark the 75th anniversary of the ending of World War Two, Royal Central reflects on those famous lines, spoken by a king in his country’s darkest days as a promise of the hope that would arrive on May 8th 1945, VE Day.