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Queen recalls own wartime broadcast and tells nation: ‘We will meet again’

The monarch said she was reminded of the time she spoke on Children’s Hour during the Second World War.

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Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret after their broadcast on Children’s Hour in 1940 (PA)

Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret after their broadcast on Children’s Hour in 1940 (PA)

Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret after their broadcast on Children’s Hour in 1940 (PA)

Princess Elizabeth was just 14 years old when she made her first ever radio broadcast, addressing the nation’s children with her sister Princess Margaret during the Second World War.

The young princess called on evacuated youngsters to have courage, telling them she and Margaret knew what it was like to be separated from those they loved.

Eighty years on, the Queen, in her televised speech about the coronavirus pandemic, told how the crisis had brought back those wartime memories.

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The Queen during her televised address (Buckingham Palace/PA)

The Queen during her televised address (Buckingham Palace/PA)

The Queen during her televised address (Buckingham Palace/PA)

The princesses were moved from London to Windsor Castle during the conflict to keep them safe – just as the Queen, now 93, has been once again.

The Queen said: “It reminds me of the very first broadcast I made, in 1940, helped by my sister.

“We, as children, spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety.

“Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones.

“But now, as then, we know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do.”

She also told the country in lockdown, separated from their families and friends: “We will meet again.”

The phrase is seemingly a nod to the wartime anthem We’ll Meet Again by Forces’ Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn, who helped raise British spirits during the Blitz.

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Dame Vera Lynn with an image of herself during the war (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Dame Vera Lynn with an image of herself during the war (Sean Dempsey/PA)

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Dame Vera Lynn with an image of herself during the war (Sean Dempsey/PA)

A new music video accompanying the famous song has just been released, featuring a voiceover by Dame Vera, who is now 103,  urging people to find “moments of joy” during hard times.

During her Children’s Hour broadcast on October 13 1940, Princess Elizabeth sent her best wishes to the children who had been evacuated from Britain to America, Canada and elsewhere.

In the crackling radio message, she said: “Thousands of you in this country have had to leave your homes and be separated from your fathers and mothers.

“My sister Margaret Rose and I feel so much for you as we know from experience what it means to be away from those we love most of all.”

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Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret in the garden at Windsor during the war (PA)

Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret in the garden at Windsor during the war (PA)

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Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret in the garden at Windsor during the war (PA)

She added: “We know, everyone of us, that in the end all will be well; for God will care for us and give us victory and peace.

“And when peace comes, remember it will be for us, the children of today, to make the world of tomorrow a better and happier place.”

Margaret was only 10 at the time, and joined in by saying goodbye.

Elizabeth remarked: “My sister is by my side and we are both going to say goodnight to you. Come on, Margaret.”

Margaret added: “Goodnight, children,” before Elizabeth said: “Goodnight, and good luck to you all.”

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King George VI and Queen Elizabeth walk in a field with their daughters Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret in 1941 during the war (PA)

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth walk in a field with their daughters Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret in 1941 during the war (PA)

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King George VI and Queen Elizabeth walk in a field with their daughters Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret in 1941 during the war (PA)

Elizabeth went from being a teenager to a young woman during her time at Windsor.

These were pivotal years when the princess and her sister would hear about the bombings of London from their parents King George VI and Queen Elizabeth who, during the Battle of Britain, would travel to the capital almost every day from the castle.

When she was 19, Elizabeth joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1945, and served in uniform as No. 230873 Second Subaltern Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor.

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Princess Elizabeth at the wheel of an Army vehicle when she served during the Second World War in the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1945 (PA)

Princess Elizabeth at the wheel of an Army vehicle when she served during the Second World War in the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1945 (PA)

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Princess Elizabeth at the wheel of an Army vehicle when she served during the Second World War in the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1945 (PA)

She undertook a driving and vehicle maintenance course and was pictured in dungarees changing a wheel.

In July 1945, she was promoted to junior commander.

As a child, Elizabeth was sensible and responsible, while Margaret was vivacious, naughty and fun.

The Queen was extremely close to her younger sister despite their differing characters, and in later life they telephoned each other every day.

She was devastated when Margaret died in 2002, the same year as the Queen Mother.

PA