HRH Queen Elizabeth II’s 2013 Speech in the Event of a Nuclear War

by NB Armstrong (September 2013)

When I spoke to you less than nine months ago, we were all enjoying the warmth and fellowship of a family Christmas. Now we must face up to the hardships brought about by a full thermonuclear exchange. Who would have guessed it?

If you are hearing these words on satellite then the worst of it may have passed. If you are hearing them in the form of Morse code, god help you. And if you are watching them through the signing for the deaf woman in the bottom corner of the screen at least you didn't hear the explosions. They were a right bloody racket.

What I now wish to say to you as your queen, and as a mother, a grandmother, a great grandmother, and -this surprised me – a distant relative of Berlusconi, I say from my heart. Which will, I trust, excuse me any faulty grammar or inappropriate nationalism. First I want to pay tribute to you, the British people.

My family knows and understands just how much the British public once meant: at home, in the commonwealth, and in other parts of the world, especially the resort islands of southern Europe. If it weren’t for us those people would still be traveling between cousins on donkeys. And you the British public also meant something to us, over and above issues of crowd control. The extent of the tribute that huge numbers of you would have liked to have had the chance to pay to yourselves has been overwhelming. Or one imagines it would have been.

For you were, while you lived, a robustly impressionable group of subjects. In good times and bad, you never lost your capacity to smile, even and especially during the years of Ben Elton. Nor did you ever lose that ability to inspire others with your can-do welfare dependency. You never questioned the resurfacing of the debate over Gibraltar, which though always appearing at times of potential government scandal you accepted at face value. I also greatly admired and respected your energy and commitment to the pub. And your devotion to the children that looking back on your youth you thought might well exist. You were a steadfast people. But you were more than that. You were the people of peoples’ hearts. The peoples’ people. I’m still not sure that phrase works. But no one who knew the British public will ever forget it. And millions of others who never met it, but felt they knew it, will remember it. In some senses I partially belong to the latter group, though glove occasionally touched skin.

There has been an extraordinary and moving reaction to the British public's death, and I want to thank all of you who you have brought flowers and sent messages, though going outdoors in this contaminated air is recklessness bordering on stupidity. One fellow turns up with dead flowers at the palace in his NBC suit every morning. But will a Yorkshireman ever be told?

These acts of kindness have been a huge source of hope and comfort as we come to terms with your extinction. They have allowed myself and Philip some respite from the unfortunate presence of charred remains by the millions. So I wish to stress again the comfort we have derived from them, and the respect you have shown, and must go on showing, in case any of you think this holocaust will change the present executive arrangement.

War is always tough, especially for those more vulnerable members of society, such as people from Merseyside, for whom armageddon comes as less of a welcome relief since it basically marks a continuation of the status quo. We have all been trying in our different ways to cope. Some have sought the warmth and shelter of a bunker, in which family traditions may continue unpoliced. On the other hand suicide has never proven less in need of an explanation. Others know someone in the army. Money helps, too – even now.

The initial shock was succeeded by a mixture of other feelings, which included burns, asphyxiation, and general irritation. Because now I guess we will never know if Ronaldo would have moved back to United. The setback is a large one. This week at Balmoral we have all been trying to help one another come to terms with the devastating loss of so many huntable stag.

But it is not just at home where we have experienced the death of civilization. And to those commonwealth nations for whom the effects of a nuclear attack are less visibly apparent – Bangladesh, and the more remote parts of Canada – I say this. Let us try to look on the bright side. Horse and carriages are once again cutting edge forms of transport.

1939 is upon us. But in the guise of a different numerical configuration. That makes annihalation very different this time around. For one, Vera Lynn is no longer with us. In her place, I'm sure our troops will be inspired by the whole grime genre of South London gangster rap. Nothing symbolizes Britain in 2013 better than Wiley's last album cover. This moment takes us back to another when our country faced a mortal threat from an evil wind from abroad. But how was Michael Fish to know it would turn into a hurricane?

I wish to assure you that the business of governing the country continues with as much normality as possible. This blanket of radiation might even put a final stop to uncontrolled immigration. And at least one minister has remarked that a paradoxical dividend of so much vaporisation has been a reduction in the hospital waiting lists. After this whole nuclear war has blown over, my government intends to get to the bottom of it with a thorough enquiry. Televised, if that's what you really want.

Since I acceded to the role of monarch in 1953, many things have changed. Well, as they say, if you can remember the fifties you weren't really there. Most of the time Phillip wasn't. But when I was 21, I pledged my life to the service of our people and I renew that pledge today. To both of you. I made that vow of service then as I make it again today, wearing a hat indoors. I do not regret one word of it. But looking back it is natural to ask ourselves, had we known what would happen last week whether we might have acted differently in our daily interactions. There was, for example, the letting go of a minimum wage footman in 83 that, through the mists of radiation, I feel was rather peremptory. Though his eventual compensation package included a cured ham every Maundy Thursday. And who can say fairer than that?

But one thing we can all look to for its unswerving consistency down through the years is the basic tenor of my accent. It has neither been cheapened nor made more expensive by the passage of time. These present stark days remind us of some of the trials and tribulations we underwent during the darkest hours of the previous century. And, speaking personally, of the time I met the American actor, Elliot Gould. Anti-Semitism has never had a better friend than Mr Gould. Then there was the occasion on which a loner broke into Buckingham Palace and sat on my bed at 3am. He was sad, confused, and he meant no harm. We set the wolves on him. We had to set a precedent. Precedent is what the freedoms of our great country are built upon. Not the Magna Carta or voting but what I do first. Thereafter it becomes law. Thereafter that law is something you are free to argue about to no practical end.

But the previous century saw extraordinary progress, too, and we should not forget that. It was the century in which mankind first learned to split the atom, and we will just have to pray that this war will not undo that knowledge. If only Mahatma Gandhi were here to offer us pithy sarcasm on the implied absence of western civilization. He, like Michael Fish, was a man of history, and like most great men of history, he rarely bathed. That's just a theory by the way. But then I think of John Prescott. And the theory starts to crumble.

A void has been left in our midst. At the ceremony tomorrow, I hope that sadness will blend with a wider sense of thanksgiving, to form a kind of thankssadness, if you will. By the way, we are having a ceremony tomorrow. It was scheduled long before this very large meteor-like event.

The bond of family life is our greatest defence against the unknown. Trident helps too. Or we thought it would. That four minute warning has finally alerted us all to the dangers of the Arabian peninsula. I am sure we will never allow another one to flourish.

Today it is your, I mean our turn to suffer the shattering vicissitudes of history gone all awry, as we take shelter from the malabused blowback of Einstein's brain. Sorry. It's hard to get the tone right. I've never done nuclear before. It's usually yet another far away oil war. How we all wish…

At some point in the future historians will look back and say, well, I'd never have guessed it would have been started by a black president. And they will argue about the whys and wherefores and, for some in particular, Jewish involvement. It was, I am relieved to be able to say to you all now, nothing to do with me. Or even my type. This is not 1914. And that year will now take several centuries to reach.

Tonight, as you hunker around your improvised pots and perhaps play charades or very limited games of hide and seek, many of you will be looking to your faiths for help. Some of you will actually be right. The others will be first or second generation immigrants. Why are the second generation ones so much more sensitive? Oh, well. We were hardly to know. Myself and Philip intend to spend another evening remembering the important things, and keeping life simple. We'll probably skim YouTube and order in. Waitrose is still operating, isn't it?

To all of you I say this.

As a parent and grandparent, I share your worries and your fears. As a great grandparent I'm less fussed. I just am. Our thoughts are constantly and inevitably with loved ones. My own grandchildren are, at this moment, dressed in full combat uniform, risking their lives, and experiencing the full horrors of war. In drone bunker command.

And so as you prepare to face the future without yourself, let us express gratitude for our life on these small islands. Over the years I have met many people who have had to cope with the tragedy of family loss, sometimes in the most desperate of circumstances. It must make it easier for you all to go at once. Just count yourselves fortunate that you were blessed with a long and happy life – if you were, and if you can somehow hear me now.

May god bless you all.


NB Armstrong is a writer and translator. His latest books, This Gangster is One of Your Own and Korean Straight Lines, are now available. [email protected]


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