VE DAY 75
8-10 May 2020
What is VE day?
Victory in Europe (VE) Day on 8 May 1945 saw Britain and its Allies formally accept Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender after almost six years of war.
At 15:00, Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced on the radio that the war in Europe had come to an end, following Germany's surrender the day before.
Spontaneous celebrations broke out across the country and the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, and her sister Princess Margaret, ventured out with a group of friends to experience the excitement in London.
Prime Minister Winston Churchill stands on the balcony of Buckingham Palace alongside the Royal Family (with the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, on the left) on 8 May 1945
Image copyright GETTY IMAGES
Celebrating VE Day
The coronavirus outbreak means people are commemorating the 75th anniversary of VE Day within their own homes. All public gatherings have been cancelled - but a series of events is still going ahead to mark the end of fighting against Nazi Germany in Europe during World War Two.
Socially-distanced wreath-laying, a two-minute silence, a re-broadcast of Winston Churchill's speech and an address from the Queen are among the national events taking place. The government is encouraging people to watch the events on the BBC and to hold 1940s-style afternoon tea parties within their households.
Various events are still going ahead, including:
- 10:50 BST - at a service in Westminster, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle will lay a wreath on behalf of the Commons. Lord West will lay a wreath on behalf of the Lords
- 11:00 - a national moment of remembrance and a two-minute silence will be held
- 14:45 - in a special programme on BBC One, extracts from Churchill's victory speech to the nation announcing the end of the war in Europe will be broadcast
- 14:55 - solo buglers, trumpeters and cornet players will be invited to play the Last Post from their homes
- 15:00 - as Churchill's speech is broadcast, people will be invited to stand up and raise a glass in a national toast, saying: "To those who gave so much, we thank you"
- 20:00 - another BBC One special will feature Welsh soprano Katherine Jenkins, actor Adrian Lester and singer Beverley Knight, who will be performing some well-known songs from the 1930s and 40s. The programme will culminate in the nation being invited to sing along to a rendition of wartime classic We'll Meet Again
- 21:00 - the Queen's pre-recorded address will be broadcast on BBC One at the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address 75 years ago. It will be her second televised message during the coronavirus outbreak after a rare speech to the nation last month
- 21:30 - Spotlights will light up the sky in Portsmouth to recall the experience of blackouts during the war. The local council says the lights are also to remind people "that lighter times will come again"
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