Last week’s historic televised address by Her Majesty the Queen about the coronavirus emergency was quite rightly lauded for the leadership and vision it projected around the world, not just in the United Kingdom and throughout the Commonwealth of Nations.
But only now can the full story be told about the turmoil that occurred behind the scenes in the lead-up to that rare and influential speech from Windsor Castle.
My sources within Buckingham Palace advise that the very last line of her address gave the only public clue to what they admitted were tense and sensitive discussions among senior members of the Royal Family about the form Her Majesty’s speech would take.
“Her Majesty’s evocation of Dame Vera Lynn’s classic wartime song We’ll Meet Again was very deliberate but viewers and listeners would not have known the significance of those few short words,” one source told me.
“You see Her Majesty believed that even though she had rarely given such an address during her lengthy reign, something more than just a speech to a camera was needed at this particular time.
“She originally insisted on not giving a speech as such, but to sing a Vera Lynn medley and end it with We’ll Meet Again.
“Her Majesty even donned her old Women’s Auxiliary uniform which she hadn’t worn for nigh on 70 years and performed several rehearsals on one of the Windsor Castle balconies (main picture) belting out a string of Vera Lynn hits such as A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square, There’ll Always Be An England, and White Cliffs of Dover, ending with We’ll Meet Again.
“Luckily with the impact of social isolation very few people were outside the castle gates to see and hear her so the news didn’t leak to the media at all.
“Senior courtiers were aghast at the very idea of the Monarch singing World War II tunes and argued strenuously — but naturally also very respectfully — that it was a very bad idea indeed.
“They tried to elicit the help of other senior royals still locked down with the Queen in Windsor Castle, but they provided little help.
“The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip, did little to dissuade his wife from her plan and in fact seemed to be encouraging her performance and repeatedly called her Vera during a meeting called to discuss the issue.
“Oddly enough it was the Duke of York, Prince Andrew, who helped alter Her Majesty’s mind when he suggested he might perform a song of his own following his mother’s medley to close the pre-recorded national broadcast.
“He then stood and bumped and grinded his way through a very sensual rendition of Marvin Gaye’s 1980s hit Sexual Healing.
“It was only then that courtiers detected a change in the Queen’s attitude. I suspect she realised her idea may not be in the best interests of the monarchy which had suffered enough in recent months, what with the exit of the Sussexes and Prince Andrew’s own problems.
“So in the end Her Majesty abandoned plans to sing a medley of wartime hits and contented herself with using the words ‘We will meet again’ to end her speech.
“But if you listen carefully you can detect that she does deliver them in a slightly sing-song manner,” the palace source said.