As tensions rise around North Korea’s missile fires and nuclear tests World War III may seem imminent to some.
The Queen has already had a speech drafted in case a Third World War erupts. In fact, this speech has been ready since 1983 when the Cold War heat reached its peak. It was written as if it were to be addressed in March that same year but was, fortunately, never used.
In accordance with the UK’s thirty-year rule on government documents, the full text was made available to the public by the National Archives and published by the BBC three years ago.
Despite being written over 30 years ago, parts of the Queen’s speech seem surprisingly relevant to a potential WWIII in the present day.
It begins by recalling her traditional Christmas broadcast:
“When I spoke to you less than three months ago we were all enjoying the warmth and fellowship of a family Christmas. Our thoughts were concentrated on the strong links that bind each generation to the ones that came before and those that will follow. The horrors of war could not have seemed more remote as my family and I shared our Christmas joy with the growing family of the Commonwealth.”
The subject then turns to the time Britain entered the Second World War against Germany:
“Now this madness of war is once more spreading through the world and our brave country must again prepare itself to survive against great odds.
“I have never forgotten the sorrow and the pride I felt as my sister and I huddled around the nursery wireless set listening to my father’s inspiring words on that fateful day in 1939. Not for a single moment did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day fall to me.”
It then goes on to state that the true enemy is the power of ill-used technology and to remind people to remain strong:
“We all know that the dangers facing us today are greater by far than at any time in our long history. The enemy is not the soldier with his rifle nor even the airman prowling the skies above our cities and towns but the deadly power of abused technology.
“But whatever terrors lie in wait for us all the qualities that have helped to keep our freedom intact twice already during this sad century will once more be our strength. My husband and I share with families up and down the land the fear we feel for sons and daughters, husbands and brothers who have left our side to serve their country.”
At the time this speech was supposed to be delivered, Prince Andrew was 23. He had just fought the Falklands War and was a helicopter pilot with HMS Invincible. This is why the Queen goes on to say:
“My beloved son Andrew is at this moment in action with his unit and we pray continually for his safety and for the safety of all servicemen and women at home and overseas.”
Finally, it concludes with words of encouragement and solidarity:
“It is this close bond of family life that must be our greatest defence against the unknown. If families remain united and resolute, giving shelter to those living alone and unprotected, our country’s will to survive cannot be broken.
“My message to you, therefore, is simple. Help those who cannot help themselves, give comfort to the lonely and the homeless and let your family become the focus of hope and life to those who need it.
“As we strive together to fight off the new evil let us pray for our country and men of goodwill wherever they may be.
“God bless you all.”
These words will hopefully remain part of our past and won’t become a part of our future.