Britain marks today 75 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe.
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, accompanied by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, will lead the nation in a two minute silence from Scotland.
There will also be a broadcast of The Prince of Wales reading extracts from King George VI’s diary, relating the experiences of his grandfather on VE Day in 1945.
This will include the King’s relief that the war in Europe was over, the family’s iconic appearances on the Buckingham Palace balcony, and having lunch with Sir Winston Churchill.
And the Royal Air Force will provide breath-taking flypasts in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland’s capitals.
The Red Arrows will fly over London, and modern RAF Typhoon jets will appear overhead in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.
People are encouraged not to gather to watch any flypast but continue to follow public health guidelines on social distancing and enjoy the coverage from their homes and gardens.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“Seventy-five years ago today, the people of this country celebrated victory against Hitler’s aggression.
“On the frontline, they fought with courage, ingenuity and endurance, and on the Home Front, women defended our cities against air raids, worked the factories and ran the hospitals.
“This country triumphed thanks to the heroism of countless ordinary people, and because of this, hundreds of millions of people now live in peace and freedom today.
“Today we must celebrate their achievement, and we remember their sacrifice.
“We are a free people because of everything our veterans did – we offer our gratitude, our heartfelt thanks and our solemn pledge: you will always be remembered.”
And, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
“Victory in Europe was a defining moment in Britain’s long history, so today we pause to remember all those who fought overseas and battled hard on the Home Front.
“As we stay home to protect the NHS and save lives, I know the British people will mark this historic occasion in new ways to show our deepest gratitude and respect for those that gave so much to bring peace, freedom and prosperity to Europe.”
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:
“The UK Armed Forces will start the 75th anniversary of VE Day with sunrise commemorations and will continue to honour their predecessors throughout the day and across the country.
Although we cannot celebrate that precious connection with our veterans on the scale we had planned, we should all pause and reflect on their inspirational achievement.
“As Churchill said, ‘God bless you all, this is your victory’.”
The full plans for the day are:
- The Red Arrows will fly over London, and modern RAF Typhoon jets will fly over Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Belfast.
- A national two-minute silence will take place at 11am, led by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.
- The Archbishop of Canterbury has recorded a message of reflection which will form part of the programming around the two-minute silence.
- At 3pm, extracts from Sir Winston Churchill’s victory speech will be broadcast across national television and radio to recreate the moment the end of the war in Europe officially was announced on 8 May 1945.
- The Prime Minister will read the recently discovered Edmund Blunden poem ‘VE Day’.
- Extracts from the diary of King George VI will be read by His Royal Highness The Prince Of Wales, as part of the afternoon’s commemorative activity.
- At 4pm, historian Dan Snow will broadcast the last of his special VE Day inspired history lessons live on YouTube’s Timeline channel.
- At 9pm, Her Majesty The Queen’s message to the nation will air.
- This will be followed by a national singalong of Dame Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again” where the public are encouraged to open their front doors and sing along in their front gardens.