VE Day 75 at home: what is VE Day and how will the UK celebrate in lockdown

PUBLISHED: 12:33 06 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:03 20 May 2020

British men, women and children in the street celebrating VE (Victory in Europe) Day in London, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe, 75 years ago.

British men, women and children in the street celebrating VE (Victory in Europe) Day in London, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe, 75 years ago.

PA Wire/PA Images

Parties in the streets and crowds cheering in Trafalgar Square marked Victory in Europe Day in 1945, with the British public rejoicing after six long, hard years of war.

On 8 May 1945, Prime Minister Winston Churchill made an announcement on the radio at 3pm that the war in Europe had come to an end, following Nazi surrender the day before. By the beginning of 1945, the German army had been weakened and defeat looked likely.

Tuesday 8 May, 1945, was an emotional day that millions of people had been waiting for. Many people were extremely happy that the fighting had stopped and there were big celebrations and street parties.

Sir Winston Churchill leaving the Houses of Parliament in London on victory day celebrations marking the end of the Second World War in Europe, now 75 years ago.Sir Winston Churchill leaving the Houses of Parliament in London on victory day celebrations marking the end of the Second World War in Europe, now 75 years ago.

Huge crowds - with lots of people dressed in red, white and blue - gathered outside Buckingham Palace in London. They cheered as King George VI and his family, including Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, came out onto the balcony to greet everybody.

King George VI and the Queen Mother standing amid the bomb damage at Buckingham Palace. A teenage Princess Elizabeth danced in jubilation on VE Day after slipping into the crowds unnoticed outside Buckingham Palace.King George VI and the Queen Mother standing amid the bomb damage at Buckingham Palace. A teenage Princess Elizabeth danced in jubilation on VE Day after slipping into the crowds unnoticed outside Buckingham Palace.

VE Day in 2020

This year, the coronavirus lockdown has meant that hundreds of celebrations planned for the 75th anniversary of the momentous day have had to be cancelled.

Ttwo young women Joyce Digney (nee Brookes) (left) and Cynthia Covello (nee Lowe), who were famously photographed celebrating VE Day with two sailors in a fountain in Trafalgar Square, London marking the end of the Second World War in Europe, now 75 years ago.Ttwo young women Joyce Digney (nee Brookes) (left) and Cynthia Covello (nee Lowe), who were famously photographed celebrating VE Day with two sailors in a fountain in Trafalgar Square, London marking the end of the Second World War in Europe, now 75 years ago.

But in the same way that millions of Britons have used technology to satisfy their pub quiz itches, see family members, and even get married, VE Day 2020 on May 8 is taking place at home and online.

Here is a round-up of how the country will be marking the occasion - be it taking part in the Nation’s Toast, cooking with ration books or planning a #VEDay75stayathome party.

File photo dated 08/05/1945 showing huge crowds at Trafalgar Square, London, celebrating VE (Victory in Europe) Day in London, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe, 75 years ago.File photo dated 08/05/1945 showing huge crowds at Trafalgar Square, London, celebrating VE (Victory in Europe) Day in London, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe, 75 years ago.

Across the nation:

11am: A two-minute silence will be held to honour the service and sacrifice of the wartime generation

11.15am: The nation is invited to join in with the Royal British Legion’s (RBL) VE Day 75 Livestream. Grab a cup of tea and tune in as the generations of the Second World War and today are brought together to chat about their shared experiences. Hosted by TV presenter Sonali Shah, the 45-minute programme will feature stories from those who served and sacrificed, as well as recognising the difficulties people are experiencing today.

3pm: The Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of World War Two. Take part by raising a glass, cheering and clapping on your doorsteps.9pm: A pre-recorded address by the Queen will be broadcast at the exact moment her father, King George VI, gave a radio address on May 8 1945.

9pm: Fancy a sing-along? After the Queen’s address, the nation is invited to come together in a rendition of Vera Lynn’s We’ll Meet Again on BBC One.

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