Queen Elizabeth II prepares a speech in the event of World War III

In 1983, at the height of the Cold War, a speech was drafted for Queen Elizabeth II to deliver to the citizens of the United Kingdom should a nuclear conflict break out between the United States and Russia. Kept secret for 30 years, the address was made public in 2013, in accordance with the policy of the National Archives of Britain.

Today, as Europe holds its collective breath as Russia positions itself to invade Ukraine, memories of the hesitation on the brink of World War III have begun to spread across the UK and beyond. It drew renewed attention to the haunting soliloquy Her Majesty hoped she would never have to utter.

Read the full speech below, courtesy of the British Broadcasting Corporation:

When I spoke to you less than three months ago, we were all enjoying the warmth and camaraderie of a family Christmas. Our reflections focused on the strong ties that unite each generation to those that preceded it and to those that will follow. The horrors of war couldn’t have seemed more distant as my family and I shared our Christmas cheer with the growing Commonwealth family.

Today, this madness of war is once again spreading around the world and our brave country must once again prepare to survive against all odds.

I have never forgotten the grief and 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. Not a single moment, I never imagined that this solemn and dreadful duty would one day fall upon me.

We all know that the dangers we face today are far greater than at any time in our long history. The enemy is not the soldier with his gun or even the airman who roams the skies above our towns and villages, but the deadly power of abused technology.

But whatever the terrors that await us, all the qualities that have helped to keep our freedom intact twice already during this sad century will once again be our strength. My husband and I share with families across the country the fear we feel for the sons and daughters, husbands and brothers who left us to serve their country. My beloved son Andrew is currently in action with his unit and we continually pray for his safety and for the safety of all service men and women, at home and abroad.

It is this close bond of family life that must be our greatest defense against the unknown. If families remain united and resolute, offering shelter to those who live alone and without protection, our country’s will to survive cannot be broken.

So my message to you is simple. Help those who cannot help themselves, comfort the lonely and homeless, and let your family become the center of hope and life for those in need.

As we strive together to fight the new evil, let us pray for our country and men of good will everywhere. God bless you all.

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