Why did Elizabeth need the speech in the first place? According to the BBC, officials in the government wrote the speech as part of a NATO war-games exercise during the spring of 1983. At the time, the threat of a new war was all too real: Ronald Reagan had just called the Soviet Union an “evil empire,” the Star Wars missile shield concept had been revealed, and Soviet military had shot down a Korean passenger jet.
It was a tense time. Just how tense has been revealed thanks to a British law that declassifies documents after 30 years.
This tension is reflected in the Queen’s speech. Harkening back to World War II — a conflict the young Princess Elizabeth witnessed firsthand — and mentioning Elizabeth’s son Prince Andrew as a member of the military, the words reflect both a personal and political standpoint.
Thank goodness none of this was ever needed.
The potential speech reads as follows:
“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.
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 [when World War II began].
Not for a single moment did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day fall to me.
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.
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.
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.
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.”