Queen Elizabeth II is spreading more hope and optimism amid the coronavirus pandemic in a special Easter message released on Saturday, a day before the holiday.
Audio of the 93-year-old monarch speaking to the public was released on the royal family's social media channels. This marks the first time she has released an Easter message and comes as she and millions of people around the world practice social distancing at home.
"Many religions have festivals which celebrate light overcoming darkness," she said. "Such occasions are often accompanied by the lighting of candles. They seem to speak to every culture, and appeal to people of all faiths, and of none. They are lit on birthday cakes and to mark family anniversaries, when we gather happily around a source of light. It unites us."
"As darkness falls on the Saturday before Easter Day, many Christians would normally light candles together," she continued. "In church, one light would pass to another, spreading slowly and then more rapidly as more candles are lit. It's a way of showing how the good news of Christ's resurrection has been passed on from the first Easter by every generation until now."
She said, "This year, Easter will be different for many of us, but by keeping apart we keep others safe. But Easter isn't canceled; indeed, we need Easter as much as ever. The discovery of the risen Christ on the first Easter Day gave his followers new hope and fresh purpose, and we can all take heart from this. We know that Coronavirus will not overcome us."
"As dark as death can be—particularly for those suffering with grief—light and life are greater," she added. "May the living flame of the Easter hope be a steady guide as we face the future. I wish everyone of all faiths and denominations a blessed Easter."
Last Sunday, the queen gave a rare televised address to rally the people of the United Kingdom. It marked the fifth time she has recorded one during her 68 years on the throne, not including her annual televised Christmas Day speeches.
"While we have faced challenges before, this one is different," she said in her video message. "This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavor, using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal. We will succeed—and that success will belong to every one of us. We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again. But for now, I send my thanks and warmest good wishes to you all."