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The Queen joined by her family to mark 70th anniversary of VE Day

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The Queen has led senior members of the royal family in attending a thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey, to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day. The ceremony was being held to thank those who had dedicated their lives to bringing peace in Europe, and to remember those who had fallen during World War Two.

Joining the Queen in the celebrations were her husband Prince Philip and her sons Princes Charles, Andrew and Edward. The first-in-line to the throne was accompanied by his wife the Duchess of Cornwall.

Around 1,000 veterans and their families, as well as Prime Minister David Cameron, his wife Samantha, and other politicians, also stepped out for the event.

The Queen arrived at Westminster Abbey with her husband Prince Philip

Dressed in a navy blue coat and matching hat, the Queen looked delighted to be joining in the celebrations and waved to crowds outside the abbey as she arrived.

It was on 8 May 1945 when Her Majesty was 19 years old that she and her younger sister Princess Margaret went incognito into the streets of London, to take part in the festivities in the streets marking the end of the war.

On VE Day in 1945, the Queen, aged 19, slipped out of the palace with her sister Princess Margaret to take part in the celebrations on the streets

The 89-year-old monarch later recalled in a BBC interview that she was "terrified of being recognised" and that she and her friends had walked for miles, "swept along on a tide of happiness and relief".

At the time her father King George VI delivered a victory speech, which was re-read at Sunday's service by actor Simon Russell Beale. A passage from the king's speech noted the "the years of darkness and danger in which the children of our country have grown up".

During the service Her Majesty watched as a wreath was laid at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Rev Dr John Hall, led the service and gave thanks for "the valour and bravery of the sailors, soldiers, airmen and civilians who gave all they had" – and asked people to pray for "lasting peace and prosperity throughout Europe".

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby also addressed the congregation, opening with: "We gather again, 70 years on, thankful for victory over the greatest darkness of the 20th century, perhaps of all history. Our gratitude is not simply for victory-in-Europe, but also reconciliation-in-Europe that followed, neither obviously or automatically."

Young cadets also read the same prayers that had been recited at a VE service at Westminster Abbey in 1945, while Mr Cameron also gave a reading.

Prince Charles and Camilla also attended the thanksgiving service on Sunday

Sunday's celebration was the culmination of events marking the 70th anniversary. In central London a VE parade for veterans also took place, followed by a fly-past of WW2 aircraft including Spitfire and Hurricane fighters.

The night before a concert entitled A Party to Remember was held at the Horse Guards Parade. Hosted by Chris Evans, the gig included performances by Katherine Jenkins, Pixie Lott and Rebecca Ferguson among other stars.

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