The Thatcher Crisis Years

1980s politics blog from TV historian Tony McMahon

In 2013 under the thirty-year rule, confidential government papers were released revealing that a speech had been written for the Queen in the event of a nuclear war. This would be her address if World War Three broke out. The speech went as follows:

“Now, this madness of war is once more spreading through the world and our brave country must again prepare itself to survive against great odds. I have never forgotten the sorrow and the pride I felt as my sister and I huddled around the nursery wireless set listening to my father’s [George VI’s] inspiring words on that fateful day in 1939 [at the start of the World War II].”

And then she would have broken the terrible news to the British people.

“Not for a single moment did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day fall to me. But whatever terrors lie in wait for us all, the qualities that have helped to keep our freedom intact twice already during this sad century will once more be our strength.”

Then, as the Royals had done in the Second World War, an attempt to reach out to ordinary people – stressing that the monarchy was going through the same ordeal.

“My husband and I share with families up and down the land the fear we feel for sons and daughters, husbands and brothers who have left our side to serve their country. My beloved son Andrew is at this moment in action with his unit and we pray continually for his safety and for the safety of all servicemen and women at home and overseas. It is this close bond of family life that must be our greatest defence against the unknown. If families remain united and resolute, giving shelter to those living alone and unprotected, our country’s will to survive cannot be broken.”

DISCOVER: What were nuclear-free zones in the 1980s?

In the event of a nuclear war, there has been a sixty-year plan in place codenamed Operation Candid to get the Royals to safety. In the ongoing Ukraine conflict, this has been mentioned again in the press with details revealed of the monarch being spirited away on to a ‘superyacht’ or a secret bunker. I’m sure this will come as a great comfort to her subjects!

One thought on “Queen’s Speech for a nuclear war

  1. Jamie says:

    I wonder how many people would have listened to the speech – they would have been running for the hills.

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