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Queen's speech on brink of 'WW3'

They might have been the final words ever addressed by Queen Elizabeth II to her nation.

With Britain on the brink of annihilation at the hands of a nuclear-armed Soviet Union, the monarch urges her "brave country" to stand firm as it faces up to the "madness of war".

While the dangers were "greater by far than at any time in our long history", she appeals to people to remember the qualities which saw them keep freedom alive through two world wars.

"As we strive together to fight off the new evil let us pray for our country and men of goodwill wherever they may be," she declares. "May God bless you all."

Fortunately, they were words the Queen never came to utter, and has probably never even seen. They come from a remarkable script drawn up by officials as part of a Whitehall wargaming exercise designed to work through potential scenarios if the Cold War ever turned hot.

Details of the WINTEX-CIMEX 83 exercise - which took place in the spring of 1983 - are among the latest tranche of government documents to be released by the National Archives at Kew, west London.

Although it was only a simulation, the text of the Queen's address - supposedly broadcast at noon on Friday March 4 1983 - captures with chilling realism just how world war III may have begun. In sombre tones, it seeks to prepare the country for the unimaginable ordeal ahead.

With a keen eye for detail, there are references to the Queen's "beloved son Andrew", serving with his unit as a Royal Navy helicopter pilot and the address by her father George VI on the outbreak of the Second World War - famously dramatised in the film, The King's Speech.

In the exercise, the Orange bloc forces - representing the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies - launch a devastating attack on Britain with chemical weapons. The Blue forces - representing Nato - retaliate with a "limited yield" nuclear strike forcing Orange to sue for peace.

While the scenario may have been imagined, the fears underpinning it were all too real - with no certainty over who the eventual victor might be in any conflict.

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