THE Queen told lockdown Brits to “never give up, never despair” in a stirring televised address last night.
Her Majesty marked the 75th anniversary of VE Day with her second TV speech in a month.
Speaking from Windsor Castle, the 94-year-old said war heroes would be proud of how today’s Brits had dealt with the coronavirus pandemic.
Surrounded by mementoes, the Queen compared the “jubilant scenes” she enjoyed in 1945 to today’s lockdown.
But she said the streets now are “not empty”, but are instead “filled with the love and the care that we have for each other”.
She added: “Never give up, never despair — that was the message of VE Day.”
Her address was followed by a national sing-a-long to Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again.
It came only a month after the Queen promised families they will see loved ones again when we defeat the virus.
Last night’s speech aired at 9pm, the same time her dad King George VI gave a victory address on May 8, 1945.
BBC One introduced the broadcast with him saying: “Let us remember the men of all the services and the women in all of 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.”
It then transferred to the Queen, currently in lockdown at Windsor.
Among the items beside her was the hat she wore during her war service, plus a photograph of her father.
She said: “I speak to you today at the same hour as my father did, exactly 75 years ago. His message then was a salute to the men and women at home and abroad who had sacrificed so much in pursuit of what he rightly called a ‘great deliverance’.
“The war had been a total war; it had affected everyone, and no one was immune from its impact. Whether it be the men and women called up to serve, families separated from each other, or people asked to take up new roles and skills to support the war effort, all had a part to play.”
In an echo of today’s events, she went on: “At the start, the outlook seemed bleak, the end distant, the outcome uncertain.
“But we kept faith that the cause was right — and this belief, as my father noted in his broadcast, carried us through. Never give up, never despair — that was the message of VE Day.”
Footage showed the then-Princess Elizabeth joining her family and Winston Churchill at Buckingham Palace to celebrate victory in Europe.
With a photo of the triumphant scene behind her, the Queen went on: “I vividly remember the jubilant scenes my sister and I witnessed with our parents and Winston Churchill from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
“The sense of joy in the crowds who gathered outside and across the country was profound, though while we celebrated the victory in Europe, we knew there would be further sacrifice.
“It was not until August that fighting in the Far East ceased and the war finally ended.
“Many people laid down their lives in that terrible conflict. They fought so we could live in peace, at home and abroad. They died so we could live as free people in a world of free nations.
“They risked all so our families and neighbourhoods could be safe. We should and will remember them.
“As I now reflect on my father’s words and the joyous celebrations, which some of us experienced first-hand, I am thankful for the strength and courage that the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and all our allies displayed.
“The wartime generation knew the best way to honour those who did not come back from the war was to ensure it didn’t happen again.
“The greatest tribute to their sacrifice is that countries who were once sworn enemies are now friends, working side by side for the peace, health and prosperity of us all.”
More film showed joyous crowds celebrating in the streets and doing the conga — not currently possible because of social distancing rules.
The Queen said: “Today it may seem hard that we cannot mark this special anniversary as we would wish.
“Instead we remember from our homes and our doorsteps.
“But our streets are not empty; they are filled with the love and the care that we have for each other.
“And when I look at our country today, and see what we are willing to do to protect and support one another, I say with pride that we are still a nation those brave soldiers, sailors and airmen would recognise and admire. I send my warmest good wishes to you all.”
The speech was recorded at Windsor Castle’s White Drawing Room earlier in the week. The Queen normally only speaks to the country on Christmas Day — but last month she urged the public to remain “united and resolute” in the fight against Covid.
PM Boris Johnson also yesterday called for Britain to channel its VE Day spirit in the current battle.
In an address to the nation, the PM said: “We are now engaged in a new struggle against the coronavirus which demands the same spirit of national endeavour.”
He also had a chat on Zoom with 102-year-old Ernie Horsfall from Preston, one of the oldest surviving war heroes — and called him “awesome”.