The 80th anniversary of bombing of Buckingham Palace during the Blitz

Sunday 13th September marks 80 years since the bombing of Buckingham Palace during the raids of The Blitz in 1940. 

To mark the anniversary we are sharing accounts of the raid as recorded by Members of the Royal Family, from the Royal Archives. 

A letter written by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother to Queen Mary tells of the moment of the bombing.

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother

“…at this moment we heard the unmistakable whirr-whirr of a german plane…and before anything else could be said, there was the noise of aircraft diving at great speed, and then the scream of a bomb - It all happened so quickly, that we had only time to look foolishly at each other, when the scream hurtled past us, and exploded with a tremendous crash in the quadrangle.

“I saw a great column of smoke & earth thrown up into the air, and then we all ducked like lightning into the corridor - There was another tremendous explosion, and we & our 2 pages who were outside the door, remained for a moment or two in the corridor away from the staircase, in case of flying glass. It is curious how one’s instinct works at those moments of great danger, as quite without thinking, the urge was to get away from the windows. Everybody remained wonderfully calm, and we went down to the shelter.” 

An extract from the diaries of King George VI from the 13th September – His Majesty’s personal account of the attack.

King George VI

“All of a sudden we heard an aircraft making a zooming noise above us, saw 2 bombs falling past the opposite side of the Palace, & then heard 2 resounding crashes as the bombs fell in the quadrangle about 30 yds away. We looked at each other, & then we were out into the passage as fast as we could get there. The whole thing happened in a matter of seconds…. 

“…6 bombs had been dropped. The aircraft was seem coming straight down the Mall below the clouds having dived through the clouds & had dropped 2 bombs in the forecourt, 2 in the quadrangle, 1 in the Chapel & the other in the garden.”