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Queen Elizabeth thankful for 'strength and courage' of UK, Commonwealth and allies in VE Day message

Queen Elizabeth II has broadcast her VE Day message exactly 75 years after her father, King George VI, made his historic broadcast as  World War II ended in Europe.

Victory in Europe Day, or VE Day, celebrates the end of World War II in Europe following the Allies' formal acceptance of Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945.

“I speak to you today at the same hour as my father did exactly 75 years ago. His message then was a salute to the men and women at home and abroad who had sacrificed so much in pursuit of what he rightly called a 'great deliverance,'" the British monarch said.

Queen Elizabeth called the Second World War a "total war" which had "affected everyone, and no one was immune from its impact, whether it be the men and women called up to serve, travellers separated from each other, or people asked to take up new roles and skills to support the war effort."

“At the start, the outlook seemed bleak, the end distant, the outcome uncertain, but we kept faith that the cause was right, and this belief, as my father noted in his broadcast, carried us through," she said.

“Never give up. Never despair - that was the message of VE Day."

The 94-year-old said she vividly remembered the "jubilant scenes" she had witnessed with her sister Princess Margaret, their parents and former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

“The sense of joy in the crowds who gathered outside, and across the country, was profound. Though while we celebrated the victory in Europe, we knew there would be further sacrifice.

"It was not until August that fighting in the far East ceased and the war finally ended. Many people laid down their lives in that terrible conflict. They fought so we could live in peace - at home and abroad. They died so we could live as free people in a world of free nations. They risked all, so our families and neighbourhoods could be safe.

“We should, and will, remember them. As I now reflect on my father’s words, and the joyous celebrations which some of us experienced first-hand, I am thankful for the strength and courage that the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and all our allies displayed."

The UK monarch said the wartime generation knew that the best way to honour those who did not return from the war was to "ensure that it didn’t happen again".

She said, however, that the "greatest tribute to their sacrifice" was that countries who "were once sworn enemies are now friends working side-by-side for the peace, health and prosperity of us all."

The Queen said while it may seem difficult to mark the anniversary following the Covid-19 pandemic, we may instead "remember from our homes and our doorsteps".

"Our streets are not empty. They are filled with the love and the care that we have for each other, and when I look at our country today, and see what we are willing to do protect and support one another, I say with pride that we are still a nation those brave soldiers, sailors and airmen would recognise and admire.

“I send my warmest good wishes to you all.”