Queen Elizabeth gives a number of speeches each year and they are usually well-received. It turns out that one of her most powerful speeches is one that she never gave.
New documents show she had a speech prepared in 1983 to rally the country in case of total nuclear Armageddon — what would have theoretically been World War III. Her overall message in the speech, which was recently released, is that Britain needs to keep calm and carry on.
An excerpt from the speech is below:
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. The dangers facing us today are greater by far than at any time in our long history. The enemy is the deadly power of abused technology.
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 message therefore to you 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.
The speech would have lasted about 10 minutes. According to documents that were released with the speech, a nuclear attack would have killed 33 million British citizens. More than one million would have died in London alone, ABC News reported.
“The documents that we released are really the nation’s memory,” said Mark Dunton of the National Archives. “History has no final draft. There are new revelations — and perhaps more still to come.”
According to Dunton, it is possible that the queen never even saw the speech. Whoever wrote it certainly had to take a lot of factors into consideration.
“They thought themselves into this situation with a deadly realism,” Dunton said. “It’s such a bleak and grim scenario. It makes you think what it would be like to be in such a scenario. [But it also] tries to give some hope to British people by expressing the desire for continuity, despite what might be on the horizon — nuclear Armageddon. It’s trying to offer some hope. The hope of continuance.”