Royal News

Royal reveal: Queen broke protocol joining Buckingham Palace crowds celebrating on VE Day

The future Queen, then 19, and her sister Princess Margaret, 14, mingled with thousands of people gathered in front of the royal residence on May 8 1945. The princesses did the hokey cokey and the Lambeth Walk, took part in chants of “We want the King”, and danced the conga through the Ritz hotel in nearby Piccadilly.

It comes as Elizabeth, now the Queen, will address the nation to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

As part of the 1945 celebrations, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth made eight appearances in 10 hours on the palace’s balcony, with the princesses joining their parents six times.

Elizabeth and Margaret stepped out after dinner to join the crowds in a breach of royal protocol.

They were accompanied by a group of Guards officers, who were friends of the princesses.

It was Margaret’s idea and the King and Queen agreed.

Writing in his diary that day, the monarch said: “Poor darlings, they have never had any fun yet.”

Jean Woodroffe, one of the Queen’s first ladies in waiting, previously described how Elizabeth joined in the celebrations.

Ms Woodroffe told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme in 2006: “What was amusing is that we went into the Ritz hotel through one door and out of the other door, the other end, doing the conga.

“The extraordinary thing was that nobody seemed to take much notice.

“Then we stood outside Buckingham Palace with the crowd and we all shouted ‘We want the King’ with everybody else until the King and Queen came out onto the balcony.”

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Elizabeth, who had undertaken National Service in the Auxiliary Transport Service, wore her uniform on the day.

Years later, she told how she pulled her cap down over her eyes to avoid being recognised.

She added: “I remember lines of unknown people linking arms and walking down Whitehall, and all of us were swept along by tides of happiness and relief.”

Margaret described the war years as “black and gloomy”, but said VE Day came as a “wonderful sunburst of glory”.

The Royal Family led by example and boosted morale during the devastating conflict.

When the war broke out it was suggested that Queen Elizabeth and her daughters should be evacuated to Canada or the United States.

But she said: “The children won’t go without me. I won’t leave the King. And the King will never leave.”

Elizabeth and Margaret moved to Windsor Castle during the war.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, later the Queen Mother, slept at Windsor, but spent their days at Buckingham Palace during the Blitz.

After German bombs fell at the palace, Queen Elizabeth said: “I’m glad we’ve been bombed. It makes me feel I can look the east end in the face.”


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