A Near Miss
At around 11:00 on 13 September 1940, a week after the start of the London Blitz, a German bomber ducked under the clouds, flew deliberately low across the capital and dropped five high explosive bombs on Buckingham Palace. George VI and his wife, Elizabeth, were just taking tea. At the precise moment that they heard what she described as the “unmistakable whirr-whirr” of the plane and the ‘scream of a bomb’, the queen was battling to take an eyelash out of his eye and they rushed out into the corridor to avoid the blast. Two bombs fell in the palace’s inner quadrangle a few yards from where the couple had been sitting, a third destroyed the chapel and the remainder caused deep craters at the front of the building.
The Foreign Office advised the King and Queen to flee the country immediately, however, in order to keep morale high in the face of bombing they resolved to stay. In a statement to the nation, the Queen exclaimed ‘The children will not leave unless I do. I shall not leave unless their father does, and the King will not leave the country in any circumstances, whatever’.