Massive numbers gathered to see the Royal Family celebrate

The British Royal Family played a central role in London’s victory celebrations.

Huge numbers of people surged down The Mall to Buckingham Palace, where King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and their daughters, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, soon appeared on the balcony to wave to the cheering crowds.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In total, the King and Queen made eight appearances on the balcony, and at one point were joined by Winston Churchill, the Imperial War Museum online archives state.

While the King and Queen were waving to the crowds for the last time that evening, their daughters were secretly mingling with the jubilant crowds below them.

The future monarch, Princess Elizabeth, and her sister Margaret had been allowed to leave the palace and take part - anonymously - in the party-like atmosphere.

Princess Elizabeth later recalled: “We stood outside and shouted ‘We want the King’ ... I think it was one of the most memorable nights of my life.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

King George VI, like Churchill, also gave a radio address. In it, he praised his subjects’ endurance and called for a lasting peace.

He also paid tribute to those who could not join in the celebrations, saying: “Let us remember those who will not come back…let us remember the men in all the services, and the women in all the services, who have laid down their lives.

“We have come to the end of our tribulation and they are not with us at the moment of our rejoicing.”

King George VI held the ranks of Admiral of the Fleet, Field Marshal and Marshal of the Royal Air Force.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In World War Two, he and Queen Elizabeth inspected troops and visited work places. On these occasions the King always appeared in uniform.

During the Blitz, the King and Queen visited bombed areas to see the damage caused by enemy air raids. On these visits, the Queen took a keen interest in what was being done to help people who had lost their homes.

After Buckingham Palace was bombed on 13 September 1940, she said she felt she could ‘look the East End in the face’.

Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret spent most of the war years at Windsor Castle and, like many other British children, were often apart from their parents.

At the age of 19, Princess Elizabeth joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service.

Picture: The Royal Family joined by PM Winston Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on VE Day (©IWM MH 21835)