Queen’s body language reflects spirit of the nation with ‘resilience’ & ‘determination’
Today, May 8, marked 75 years since Victory in Europe Day (VE Day), the day in 1945 when fighting against Nazi Germany in Europe in World War II came to an end. Celebrations have been going on throughout the country to mark the important occasion. This evening the Queen, 94, gave a speech during a special broadcast on BBC One to commemorate the anniversary.
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The programme opened from a deserted Buckingham Palace as the UK continued to stay in lockdown.
The royals had given permission for the broadcasters to host the anniversary show from the famous landmark, who started the celebrations with a dance from Strictly Come Dancing’s Anton du Beke.
The Queen’s history-making speech was scheduled for 9pm exactly – the same time that her father, King George VI, first made his radio address to the nation in 1945, announcing victory in Europe.
The Queen, then known as Princess Elizabeth, was just 19 at the time.
She and her sister, 15-year-old Princess Margaret, were allowed to go out and join in the instant celebrations that broke out as Britain heard of the surrender, something the Queen has since described as “one of the most memorable nights of my life”.
There were street parties all around the country, while huge crowds of people dressed in red, white and blue gathered outside Buckingham Palace in London.
Today, 75 years on, street parties have been taking place all over the UK, albeit with a slightly different tone to normal.
The country remains in lockdown due to the coronavirus epidemic, meaning neighbours are having to keep their distance and follow the government guidance to stay safe while taking part in the anniversary celebration.
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The pandemic is the reason that the Queen’s speech had to be pre-recorded for the programme.
The head of the Royal Family joined in the series of special broadcasts to pay tribute to those who had lost their lives in the war.
As she addressed the nation, the Queen wore Aquamarine Clip Brooches, which were an 18th birthday present from her late father.
Talking of her memories of the war, she spoke of how “no one was immune from its impact” and that they all “had a part to play”, echoing her sentiments about the coronavirus in her recent speech.
The Queen said that “never give up, never despair” was the message of VE Day even though the outcome was uncertain at the time.
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According to body language expert Judi James, the monarch showed she had this same determination today as the country faces another threat.
Judi commented: “It’s probably the utter stoicism in the Queen’s stillness and understated body language as she delivered this message on VE day that makes it resonate so well with the current crisis. The Queen signals emotion via the smallest of non-verbal gestures, and that makes them all the more powerful at times like this, when the traditional stiff upper lip is so necessary.
“She sat upright with her hands concealed behind her desk and a photograph of her father beside her. When she spoke of the war dead there was a tightening of her lips as she said quite firmly that ‘We will remember them’, and her chin raised slightly in a look of determination.”
However, there were moments where the Queen let her stillness slip as she remembered that special day as a teenager.
“She smiled as she recalled remembering the VE day celebrations first hand and we got a shot of the young Elizabeth grinning excitedly from the balcony alongside her mother and father,” Judi added.
“When she spoke movingly of our current empty streets being ‘filled with love and care’ her small, one-brow frown suggested concern tinged with anger at the current crisis.
“She finished by telling of her ‘pride in this country’ and just the slightest raise of her chin reflected the resilience of the people of the UK right now.”
The Queen’s words took on a double meaning as she spoke of the war that they had faced in 1945, and said that the end looked “distant”, as people took up new roles and skills to do their bit.
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