Better safe than sorry? A recently released National Archives document reveals that Queen Elizabeth II and her royal staff were preparing for the worst at the height of the Cold War in 1983, even going so far as to pen a World War III speech addressed to the masses.
"When I spoke to you less than three months ago, we were all enjoying the warmth and fellowship of a family Christmas," the "final speech," written by government officials, begins. "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 eloquently written address, which was released on Wednesday, July 31, after a 30-year embargo, was meant to be delivered by the Queen in the spring of 1983 had the worst possible scenario occurred. At the time, relations between the Soviet Union and the West had become extremely tense, and the threat of nuclear war seemed imminent.
British officials had pulled together the draft as a precaution should war break out.
The speech even refers to the Queen's second eldest son Andrew, who was at the time "in action with his unit" in the Royal Navy.
"…we pray continually for his safety and for the safety of all servicemen and women at home and overseas," the text continues. "It is this close bond of family life that must be our greatest defense 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."
The monarch — now 87 years old and celebrating the birth of her latest grandchild and future king Prince George — also recalled the last time a member of her family had to make the daunting speech in the face of "the madness of war."
"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," the speech reads, referring to King George VI's World War II address. "Not for a single moment did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day fall to me."
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