Princess Elizabeth delivers a speech on her 21st birthday.
Cape Town, South Africa.
Various shots of Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) seated at table on tree shaded lawn, speaking into microphone. Natural sound: "......21st Birthday I welcome the opportunity to speak to all the people of the British Commonwealth of Nations wherever they live, whatever race they come from, and whatever language they speak. Let me begin by thanking all the thousands of kind people who have sent me messages of good will. This is a happy day to me, but it is also one that brings serious thought, thoughts of life looming ahead, with all its challenges, and with all its opportunity. At such a time, it is a great help to know that there are multitudes of friends all round the world who are thinking of me and who wish me well. I am grateful and I am deeply moved. As I speak today from Cape Town, I am 6,000 miles from the country where I was born, but I am certainly not 6,000 miles from home. Everywhere I have travelled in these lovely lands of South Africa and Rhodesia, my parents, my sister and I, have been taken to the hearts of their people and made to feel that we are just as much at home here as if we have lived with them all our lives. That is a great privilege belonging to our place in the world wide Commonwealth, that there are homes ready to welcome us in every continent of the earth. Before I am much older I hope I shall come to know many of them. Although there is none of my father's subjects from the oldest to the youngest whom I do not wish to greet, I am thinking especially today of all the young men and women who were born about the same time as myself, and have grown up like me in terrible and glorious years of the Second World War. Will you, the youth of the British family of nations, let me speak on my birthday as your representative. Now that we are coming to manhood and womanhood it is surely a great joy to us to think that we shall be able to take some of the burdens off the shoulders of our elders who have fought and worked and suffered to protect our childhood. We must not be daunted by the anxieties and hardships that the war has left behind in every nation of our Commonwealth. We know that these things are the price that we cheerfully undertook to pay for the high honour of standing alone seven years ago, in defence of the liberty of the world. Let us say with Rupert Brook: "Now God be thanked who has matched us with his hour". I am sure that you will see our difficulties in the light that I see them, as the great opportunity for you and me. Most of you have read in the history book the proud saying of William Pitt, that England has saved herself by her exertions and would save Europe by her example, but in our time we may say that the British Empire has saved the world fist and has now to save itself after the battle is won. I think that is even a fine thing than was done in the days of Pitt, and it is for us who have grown up in these years of danger and glory to see that it is accomplished in the long years of peace that we all hope, stretch ahead. If we all go forward together with an unwavering faith, a high courage and a quiet heart, we shall be able to make of this old Commonwealth, that we all love so dearly, an even grander thing, more free, more prosperous, more happy and a more powerful influence and good in the world, than it has been in the greatest days of our forefathers. To accomplish that, we must give nothing less than the whole of ourselves, that is the motto which has been born by many of my ancestors, a noble motto, "I Serve". Those words were an inspiration to many bygone heirs to the throne when they made their knightly dedication when they came to manhood. I cannot quite do as they did but through the invention of science, I can do what was not possible by any of them. I can make my solemn act of dedication with the whole Empire with me, I should like to make that dedication now, it is very simple: I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and to the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong, but I shall not have strength to carry out this resolution alone, unless you join in it with me, which I now invite you to do. I know that your support will be unfailingly given. God help me to make good my vow, and God bless all of you who are willing to share with me."
Repetition from "through the invention to science...unfailingly given."
(F.G. Comb. Print) (Re-recorded Sound Track in UN 1667 Tin 2.)
Note - date in the old record 22/04/1947.