The Queen lights beacon, leading commemorative events for VE Day

The Queen lit a beacon at Windsor Castle tonight to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe day.

At 9:32pm, Her Majesty pressed a large ‘V’ button to light the beacon. It is one of over 200 across the country remembering the moment that victory was announced, and therefore the end of World War II.

The Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Beatrice of York joined The Queen for the occasion.

The ceremony was short, and Her Majesty and Prince Philip spent a moment or two greeting the crowds gathered to see the event.

The Band of the Welsh Guards played music to begin the afternoon’s ceremony at the Cenotaph, and were joined by the buglers of the Royal Marines and Trumpeters of the Royal Air Force. The Duke of York, a former Royal Navy helicopter pilot that saw action in the Falklands, laid a wreath at the Cenotaph on behalf of Her Majesty. Political leaders David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nicola Sturgeon also laid wreaths in remembrance.

Sir Winston Churchill’s historic VE Day speech was read at the Cenotaph, by his great-grandson Randolph Churchill. A two minutes’ silence was then held.

Further celebrations this weekend include cathedral bells ringing out at 11am (to recognise that church bells were never rang during the war unless to warn of a German invasion) and a concert at Horse Guards Parade on Saturday, which will be broadcast on the BBC. Sunday will see a service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey, which members of the Royal Family will attend, and a reception for 2,000 veterans in St James’s Park. There will also be a flypast of Hurricane, Spitfire and Lancaster, famous WWII aircraft.

Feature photo: Northern Ireland Office

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