The 75th Anniversary of VE Day

VE Day

Today marks 75 years since World War II ended in Europe.

On 8 May 1945, King George VI made a radio broadcast to the people of the Commonwealth to mark the end of the war.

Together we shall all face the future with stern resolve and prove that our reserves of will-power and vitality are inexhaustible.

The Royal Family will today remember those who lost their lives and reflect on the events 75 years ago. 

The Queen's message was broadcast at 9pm, the same time as her father's broadcast in 1945. Listen here

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall lead the nation in a 2-minute silence

The Prince of Wales, accompanied by The Duchess of Cornwall, lead the nation in a two-minute silence at 11am on #VEDay75.

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall lead a 2-minute silence on VE Day

At the Balmoral War Memorial, The Prince laid a wreath and The Duchess lay flowers in remembrance of those who died in the Second World War. 

The Prince of Wales lays a wreath at the Balmoral Memorial, Aberdeenshire

The Duchess of Cornwall lays flowers at the Balmoral War Memorial on VE Day

The Princess Royal marks VE Day in Gloucestershire

To mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, The Princess Royal today laid a wreath at a war memorial in Gloucestershire which commemorates residents of the village who lost their lives during the two World Wars.

The Princess Royal lays a wreath on VE Day

The Princess Royal and Admiral Sir Tim Laurence then visited the grave of Major General Sir Fabian Ware, the founder of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), who is buried locally.

The Princess Royal and Admiral Sir Tim Laurence visit the grave of the Founder of the CWGC on VE Day

The CWGC works to ensure the 1.7m men and women who served across the Commonwealth during the First and Second World Wars are not forgotten, maintaining war memorials across over 150 countries. Sir Tim served as Vice Chairman of the CWGC for eight years.

The Duchess of Cornwall reads extracts from her father’s military memoirs for VE Day

The Duchess of Cornwall has recorded excerpts from her father’s own accounts of his time serving with the 12th Royal Lancers during the Second World War, as the nation comes together and reflects on #VEDay.

Major Bruce Shand M.C. was commissioned into the 12th Royal Lancers in 1937, earning two Military Crosses and serving in the Army for a decade.

In an excerpt from his memoirs ‘Previous Engagements’ published in 1990, and selected by Her Royal Highness to share on VE Day, Major Shand recalls his time serving in North Africa which saw him lose two of his closest comrades and taken to Germany as a prisoner of war.

The Duchess recently spoke about her father's book, saying:

My father was a soldier in the war and we could never get him to talk about it. But when the grandchildren came along, he started talking about it and we got him to write a small book about it. I think it was a huge load off his mind to be able to tell people about it.

Read more:

The Queen reflects on VE Day

I remember lines of unknown people linking arms and walking down Whitehall, all of us just swept along on a tide of happiness and relief.

The Queen was 19 years old on VE Day. More than thirty years later, she recorded her memories for a unique BBC Broadcast. Listen on our Twitter channel. 

The Prince of Wales reads King George's diary entry from VE Day

Along with the rest of the nation, The Royal Family felt both joy and relief at the news that the war in Europe had finally come to an end, as well as trepidation about the challenges which lay ahead. 

On 8 May 1945, King George VI recorded his thoughts in his wartime diary. The King wrote of #VEDay:

The day we have been longing for has arrived at last, & we can look back with thankfulness to God that our tribulation is over. No more fear of being bombed at home & no more living in air raid shelters.

Today, his grandson, The Prince of Wales, has read the diary entry to mark #VEDay75 commemorations.

King George VI and his grandson, The Prince of Wales

Royal Family members speak with Second World War Veterans

To mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day The Princess Royal spoke with Dorothy Pettican Runnicles on a video call earlier this week. Dorothy was born in 1925, in East London. 

Dorothy was evacuated from the city during The Blitz and returned as soon as she finished school. She immediately volunteered at the age of 17, with The Fleet Air Arms, part of The Women's Royal Naval Service.  Nowadays, The Fleet Air Arms is one of the fighting arms of The Royal Navy. 

The Princess Royal was Chief Commandant of the WRENS until 1993 when they became integrated into The Royal Navy. Her Royal Highness is now the Admiral and Chief Commandant for Women in the Royal Navy.

The Countess of Wessex spoke with Louis, an RAF Veteran, to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Louis joined the RAF in 1943, at the age of 18. He trained as a gunner, flying in Lancaster Bombers for a regiment based in Kinross Scotland. 

Her Royal Highness holds five honorary military appointments, including Honorary Air Commodore Royal Air Force Wittering.

The Earl of Wessex spoke with Veteran Ada via video call to hear about her experience of the Second World War.

Ada was 17 and a half when she volunteered for the ATS. The Auxiliary Territorial Service, was the women's branch of the British Army during the Second World War. In February 1949 it merged into the Women's Royal Army Corps.

The Earl of Wessex holds a number of military appointments: Royal Colonel of 2nd Battalion The Rifles, Royal Honorary Colonel of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry and The London Regiment, Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, and Honorary Air Commodore of Royal Air Force Waddington.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge call Veterans on VE Day

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.

An Address by The Queen

Never give up, never despair - that was the message of VE Day.

The Queen gave a special address to mark the 75th Anniversary of VE Day.

On 8 May 1945, King George VI made a radio broadcast to the people of the Commonwealth to mark the end of war in Europe. The Queen's address was made at the same hour as her father's broadcast, exactly 75 years ago.

Watch Her Majesty's message in full