Ran through Ritz, walked miles, drank in Dorchester

Princess Elizabeth as a 2nd Subaltern in the Auxiliary Territorial Service
© IWM TR 2835

On 15th August of 1945, three months after Nazi Germany’s surrender in Europe, the world rejoiced as Japan announced its unconditional surrender, bringing an end to World War II. Streets from New York to London, Sydney to Shanghai, were flooded with jubilant crowds celebrating the end of a devastating conflict that had spanned continents and oceans. Among the millions celebrating was Princess Elizabeth, destined to become Queen Elizabeth II. She had been just thirteen when the war began, and now, aged nineteen as peace was dawning, she briefly captured the day’s overwhelming emotion and shared sense of relief in her diary.

The Diary Entry

August 15

Out in crowd, Whitehall, Mall, St J St, Piccadilly, Park Lane, Constitution Hill, ran through Ritz. Walked miles, drank in Dorchester, saw parents twice, miles away, so many people.

[The next day…]

Out in crowd again. Embankment, Piccadilly. Rained, so fewer people. Congered into house [Buckingham Palace]. Sang till 2am. Bed at 3am!

Further Reading

Queen Elizabeth II’s diaries have never been published to any great extent, but they have been quoted in many books over the years. These particular entries are reprinted in The Final Curtsey: A Royal Memoir by the Queen’s Cousin by Margaret Rhodes, published by Birlinn in 2012.


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