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Plans to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day

The UK Government has announced revised plans to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day which will include an address from Her Majesty The Queen. 

In line with government guidance, the original plans for VE Day 75, which included a veteran procession, had to be adjusted due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. 

The new programme that will allow members of the public to remember and give thanks to the Second World War generation from the safety of their own homes. 

To mark this historic occasion, Her Majesty The Queen will send a message to the nation at 9pm on BBC One, the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address in 1945. 

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will read an extract from King George VI’s diary from 8 May 1945 which describes the day including The Royal Family’s iconic Buckingham Palace balcony appearances. 

Members of The Royal Family, the Prime Minister and the Culture Secretary will take part in a series of video calls with Second World War veterans and those who served on the Home Front. First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford will also host calls with veterans in Wales.  The official commemorations will begin at 11am with a national moment of remembrance and a two minute silence. 

Other plans for the day include:

  • As part of special BBC programming, extracts from Sir Winston Churchill’s victory speech will recreate the moment peace in Europe was announced 75 years ago at 3pm and the Prime Minister will speak about the importance of VE Day. 
  • The Archbishop of Canterbury will record a special reflection and moment of prayer for VE Day.
  • Her Majesty The Queen’s 9pm address to the nation will be followed by a national singalong of Dame Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’. The public will be encouraged to open their doors and join in with this national moment of celebration. 
  • The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has produced a template pack so that the public can hold a 1940s style afternoon tea party at home complete with homemade VE Day bunting, original recipes, games, and educational and creative activities for children
  • NHS Volunteer Responders will be deployed to give a number of Second World War veterans a call and provide an opportunity to share their stories.
  • Historian and broadcaster Dan Snow will host history lessons for children from Monday 4 May. At 4pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Dan will host a History Hit live on YouTube’s Timeline channel that will focus on a different aspect of the Second World War and aim to teach the public about the importance of VE Day. 
  • The Government and Ancestry are working together to encourage the public to join together in commemorating VE Day by discovering their own connection to the Second World War. As part of this, all UK historical records available on ancestry.co.uk will be free for the public from Monday 4 May until Sunday 10 May, giving people the opportunity to uncover the personal stories of the Second World War and the roles their families played.
  • You can download DCMS’s commemoration afternoon tea party guide here and activity pack for children here.
  • You can see and take part in Dan Snow’s creative challenge for children here.