A throwback photo of the Queen as a mechanic during WWII has been released by Prince William and Kate to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge released a series of black and white photos of the Queen to mark Victory in Europe on their Instagram account @KensingtonRoyal.
Alongside the iconic images the post reads: “Today marks the 75th anniversary of VE Day — 75 years since the end of the Second World War in Europe.
“On this day millions of people took to the streets and pubs to celebrate peace, mourn their loved ones, and to hope for the future.”
The first image shows a 19-year-old Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, beaming while sitting in a military truck.
“During the war Her Majesty The Queen – then Princess Elizabeth – joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service, where she trained as a mechanic, becoming the first female member of the Royal Family to join the Armed Services as a full-time active member,” the Instagram post reads.
When World War II broke out the Queen was 13 years old and her sister Margaret was 8.
Their mother the Queen consort was urged to evacuate her children to Canada for safety but she refused saying: “The children won’t go without me. I won’t leave without the King. And the King will never leave,” she said.
In refusing to move her children she became a symbol of courage and resilience for the country, the New York Times reported. Buckingham Palace was reportedly bombed nine times throughout the war with one happening while the family were in residence.
By the time she was 16, Princess Elizabeth was inspecting the troops and launching ships while living in a secret location, the Daily Mail reports.
When Princess Elizabeth turned 18 in 1944, she insisted upon joining the Army, where she trained as a truck driver and mechanic. The experience helped shape the princess into the longest reigning and most-loved monarch Britain has ever known.
One of the images shows the celebrations in Trafalgar Square, London with the caption: “When the guns fell silent on this day in 1945, Princess Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret joined the jubilant crowds in central London — the future Queen attempted to stay anonymous during the celebrations by pulling her cap down over her eyes.”
Meanwhile, the Queen’s Instagram account paid tribute to her father’s King George’s historic speech, sharing a clip of the King saying: “There is great comfort in the thought that the years of darkness and danger in which the children of our country have grown up are over and, please God, for ever.”
The planned parades have been cancelled due to lockdown but tributes were paid by politicians and members of the royal family, and a two-minute silence was observed in the U.K. to honor the memories of the over 70 million people who lost their lives during the 6-year conflict.
Such a historic moment celebrated during an unprecedented time. We hope this day can bring hope to so many people that there is light at the end of dark periods in our history.
Please share to honor the memories of those who sacrificed their lives to make our world a safer place.