scorecardQueen Elizabeth once partied incognito in the streets of London — here's what happened
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Queen Elizabeth once partied incognito in the streets of London — here's what happened

Talia Lakritz   

Queen Elizabeth once partied incognito in the streets of London — here's what happened
LifeThelife1 min read
  • Queen Elizabeth celebrated the end of World War II incognito in the streets of London at age 19.
  • In a 1985 BBC broadcast, she called it "one of the most memorable nights of my life."

Queen Elizabeth was 19 years old when World War II ended in Europe on VE Day on May 8, 1945.

Then known as Princess Elizabeth, she served during the war as a truck mechanic and driver for the Auxiliary Territorial Service, a women's branch of the British army, and achieved the rank of Junior Commander.

When the war ended, she disguised herself in order to leave the palace and join the festivities on the streets of London.

The Queen spoke about her experience in a 1985 BBC broadcast, shared on the royal family's official Twitter account in 2020 in honor of VE Day.

As crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace after the prime minister announced the end of the war, Queen Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret wanted to join the public celebrations.

Her Majesty recalled that she pulled her uniform cap over her eyes in order to remain incognito, but a Grenadier officer accompanying her "refused to be seen in the company of another officer improperly dressed" and made her wear it normally.

She and Margaret then stood with the crowds outside the palace and joined their chants of "We want the King!" before their father, King George VI, appeared on the balcony. Queen Elizabeth admitted that she and Margaret had "cheated slightly" by sending a message to the palace saying that they were waiting outside.

"We cheered the King and Queen on the balcony and then walked miles through the streets," Queen Elizabeth said. "I remember lines of unknown people linking arms and walking down Whitehall, all of us just swept along on a tide of happiness and relief."

She continued: "I think it was one of the most memorable nights of my life."




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