The Queen at War


In 1983 Queen Elizabeth II was preparing to tell her fellow citizens that the country was under attack by the USSR.


In the Spring of 1983, well within living memory and while the East/West ‘Cold War’ was still very much underway, Britain carried out a large-scale preparatory exercise simulating a Soviet attack. As part of that exercise, officials prepared a speech for Queen Elizabeth II to use in the event of things turning genuinely ugly – something that seemed a real and immediate possibility. A draft of that message to the population of the United Kingdom – never delivered – was recently released by Britain’s National Archives as part of its policy of periodically declassifying formerly secret documents.

The documents containing the Royal address to the nation in the event of an all-out atomic war are dated March 4, 1983, and clearly show the seriousness with which U.K. officials considered the threat.

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