This is the full schedule of events to celebrate VE Day

Friday, 8th May 2020, 10:26 am
Updated Friday, 8th May 2020, 10:27 am
VE Day commemorates the official end of World War II in Europe (Photo: Getty Images)
VE Day commemorates the official end of World War II in Europe (Photo: Getty Images)

Today (8 May) the UK will mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, commemorating the official end of the Second World War in 1945.

Special celebrations are being held throughout the day to honour the historic occasion, but all public gatherings have been cancelled due to coronavirus.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

How is VE Day being celebrated?

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will lead a two minute silence at 11am in honour of the servicemen and women who fought and lost their lives during World War II, with the Queen due to deliver a special address to the nation later in the day.

While VE Day celebrations will be limited this year due to the coronavirus outbreak, forcing large scale street parties and parades to be cancelled, the BBC is broadcasting a series of dedicated programmes to mark the occasion.

This will include a pre-recorded message from the Queen at 9pm, the exact time her father gave a radio address 75 years ago, as well as a broadcast of Winston Churchill’s famous World War Two address.

This is the full schedule of events on VE Day:

10:50am: A service in Westminster will see Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle lay a wreath on behalf of the House of Commons, and Lord West will lay a wreath on behalf of the Lords

11:00am: The nation will observe a moment of remembrance and a two-minute silence

14:45pm: Extracts from Winston Churchill’s iconic victory speech will be broadcast in a special programme on BBC One, when he announced the end of the war

14:55pm: Solo buglers, trumpeters and cornet players will be invited to play the Last Post from their homes

15:00pm: Winston Churchill’s victory speech will be broadcast and the nation will be invited to stand up and raise a glass in a national toast, saying: "To those who gave so much, we thank you"

20:00pm: BBC One will broadcast a programme featuring Welsh soprano Katherine Jenkins, actor Adrian Lester and singer Beverley Knight, who will perform a selection of songs from the 1930s and 40s.

The programme will culminate with the nation being invited to join in with a rendition of Vera Lynn’s wartime classic We'll Meet Again

21:00pm: The Queen's pre-recorded address will be broadcast on BBC One

21:30pm: Spotlights will light up the sky in Portsmouth to recall the experience of blackouts during the war, and to remind people "that lighter times will come again"

What happened on VE Day?

VE Day, or Victory in Europe Day, is dedicated to commemorating the official end of the Second World War.

The day celebrates the formal acceptance by the Allies during World War II of Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of armed forces, on 8 May 1945.

Millions of people rejoiced the news of Germany’s surrender, and took to the streets in celebration, with parties, singing and dancing.

Crowds gathered in Trafalgar Square in London and up The Mall to Buckingham Palace, where King George VI and Queen Elizabeth appeared on the balcony, overlooking the masses cheering below.

The news of the end of the war was announced by then Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who delivered a rousing speech 75 years ago.