- Speech was prepared for Queen to deliver at outbreak of World War Three
- In speech she denounces ‘deadly power of abused technology’
- Words written by imaginative speech writer in disaster planning exercise
PUBLISHED: 18:04 EST, 31 July 2013 | UPDATED: 18:29 EST, 31 July 2013
The words are full of warmth, hope and comfort. But fortunately for history, the Queen never had to say them.
Deep in the corridors of Whitehall at the height of the Cold War civil servants prepared a speech for the monarch to deliver at the outbreak of World War Three between a nuclear-armed Soviet Union and the West.
In a chilling depiction of a world on the brink of nuclear destruction, she denounces the ‘deadly power of abused technology’ – and refers to her ‘beloved son Andrew’ on the frontline. However, she rallies her country behind her, declaring in the planned broadcast: ‘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.’
Duty calls: Civil servants prepared a speech for the Queen, pictured in 1983, to deliver at the outbreak of World War Three
Threat: In the speech the Queen denounces the ‘deadly power of abused technology’ and refers to her ‘beloved son Andrew’ on the frontline
The moving words were written by an imaginative speech writer taking part in a disaster planning exercise and are among previously secret Cabinet files newly released by the National Archives.
The writer envisages the Queen saying: ‘Not for a single moment did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day fall to me.’ It continues: ‘We all know that the dangers facing us today are greater by far than at any time in our long history.’
The disaster planning meeting, known as the Cabinet Wintex-Cimex 83 Committee exercise, came in the spring of 1983 against a backdrop of worsening US-Russian relations and tit-for-tat battles on each side.
It was the year that US President Ronald Reagan described the Soviets as the ‘evil empire’, deployed medium-range nuclear missiles to Europe and began the Star Wars project.
Message to the Nation: The speech prepared for the Queen in the event of the outbreak of World War Three
A Nato military exercise codenamed Able Archer nearly led to actual war when the Soviet Union became convinced it was a genuine attack.
The Queen’s words were imagined to be broadcast at noon on Friday, March 4, 1983.
In the exercise, Orange (the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies) launch a chemical weapons attack on Britain. The Blue forces (Nato) respond with a ‘limited yield’ nuclear strike forcing the Orange bloc to offer peace.
The civil servants even thought up what the Prime Minister would say. A participant writes a speech for Margaret Thatcher saying: ‘We wanted peace and strove to achieve it.
‘We are the victims of an unprovoked attack and, with our allies, we will fight back.’
THE QUEEN’S DOOMSDAY ADDRESS IN FULL
Text of the 1983 message to the nation written for Her Majesty the Queen… but never delivered
When I spoke to you less than three months ago we were all enjoying the warmth and fellowship of a family Christmas. Our thoughts were concentrated on the strong links that bind each generation to the ones that came before and those that will follow. 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 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 for a single moment did I imagine that this solemn and awful duty would one day fall to me.
We all know that the dangers facing us today are greater by far than at any time in our long history. The enemy is not the soldier with his rifle nor even the airman prowling the skies above our cities and towns but the deadly power of abused technology.
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.
My message to you therefore is simple. Help those who cannot help themselves, give comfort to the lonely and the homeless and let your family become the focus of hope and life to those who need it.
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.
Britain was ready to use lasers to ‘dazzle’ Argentine pilots attacking British ships during the 1982 Falklands War.
A top-secret document describing the new weapon was produced after a request from Mrs Thatcher, files just released from the National Archives show.
Dated January 1983 and written by then Defence Secretary Michael Heseltine, it explained that Britain, spurred on by Russia’s adoption of laser technology, had developed its own arsenal.
‘You may recall that we developed and deployed with very great urgency a naval laser weapon, designed to dazzle low-flying Argentine pilots attacking ships, to the Task Force in the South Atlantic,’ the document said.
‘This weapon was not used in action and knowledge of it has been kept to a very restricted level.’
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