Eighty years on from the Queen’s first public address as a young princess

As the country’s longest-reigning monarch, the Queen is well-versed in speaking to the nation.

Tuesday marks the 80th anniversary of her first ever public address, when as a young Princess Elizabeth she delivered a broadcast on Children’s Hour during the Second World War.

The 14-year-old princess, joined by her sister Princess Margaret at Windsor Castle, called on evacuated youngsters to have courage, telling them she and Margaret knew what it was like to be separated from those they loved.

This was the speech the Queen recalled when she delivered a televised address to the country in April about the coronavirus pandemic.

The Queen
The Queen’s televised address to the nation in April (Jacob King/PA)

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.”

Today marks the 80th anniversary of the Queen's first ever public address.Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret broadcast on "Children's Hour" from Buckingham Palace to boost morale during the Second World War.

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During her Children’s Hour broadcast on October 13 1940, the princess 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.”

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

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.”

Last week, the Queen, 94, returned to Windsor, where she spent lockdown for her safety, after a break at Balmoral and Sandringham.

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