8th May 2020
At 15:00 on 8 May 1945, 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. Today, 75 years on, the United Kingdom remembers the end of war in Europe.
The coronavirus outbreak means that there will be no street parties, parades or concerts this year, but nonetheless there is plenty going on to celebrate with people commemorating the 75th anniversary of VE Day within their own homes.
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.