LONDON — LONDON -- The drama of British forces actively engaged in the air, land and sea operations as the gulf ground offensive began persuaded Queen Elizabeth II to make her first address to the nation at war since she ascended the throne in 1952.
Noting that the British were "rightly proud of our armed forces" and that the allies were facing "a fresh and yet sterner challenge," she said: "I hope that we can unite in praying that their success will be as swift as it is certain and that it may be achieved with as small a cost of human life as possible.
"Then may the true reward of their courage be granted: a just and lasting peace."
During the 1982 Falklands War against Argentina she sent a written message to the troops in the field.
Prime Minister John Major predicted a short but "fierce" fight. He said the campaign was ahead of schedule last night, but cautioned against early euphoria.
"I think it is right to be cautious. This is a very early stage of the campaign. We must wait to see what happens over the longer period. There may be more difficult days ahead," he said.
Noting Iraqi atrocities against Kuwait and its citizens, he said, "I think this illustrates very clearly that we were right to take this action now."