Queen Elizabeth II gave a special televised address to the people of the United Kingdom on Sunday to deliver a message of hope as the nation and hundreds of others around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic.
The speech was recorded at Windsor Castle, where the 93-year-old monarch and her husband Prince Philip, 98, have been staying as they practice physical distancing. It was broadcast on TV and released online.
"I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time," the queen said. "A time of disruption in the life of our country: a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all."
"I want to thank everyone on the NHS front line, as well as care workers and those carrying out essential roles, who selflessly continue their day-to-day duties outside the home in support of us all," she continued. "I am sure the nation will join me in assuring you that what you do is appreciated and every hour of your hard work brings us closer to a return to more normal times."
She added, "I also want to thank those of you who are staying at home, thereby helping to protect the vulnerable and sparing many families the pain already felt by those who have lost loved ones. Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it."
In her speech, the queen said she hoped that in the future, "everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge."
"And those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any," she said. "That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humored resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterize this country. The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future. The moments when the United Kingdom has come together to applaud its care and essential workers will be remembered as an expression of our national spirit; and its symbol will be the rainbows drawn by children."
"Across the Commonwealth and around the world, we have seen heart-warming stories of people coming together to help others, be it through delivering food parcels and medicines, checking on neighbors, or converting businesses to help the relief effort," she said. "And though self-isolating may at times be hard, many people of all faiths, and of none, are discovering that it presents an opportunity to slow down, pause and reflect, in prayer or meditation."
The queen's address marked her fifth special televised message to the United Kingdom during her 68 years on the throne, not including her annual televised Christmas Day speeches. Her last one was in 2012, when she spoke in celebration of her Diamond Jubilee.
The monarch said her latest address reminded her of her first broadcast, made in 1940 during World War II, and wit hthe help of her sister, the late Princess Margaret.
"We, as children, spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety," the queen said. "Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones. But now, as then, we know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do."
"While we have faced challenges before, this one is different," she continued. "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."
The queen has been personally affected by the coronavirus; her eldest son and heir Prince Charles, 71, announced last month that he had tested positive and had suffered "mild symptoms." He self-isolated for a week in Scotland, away from his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and continued to work. On Monday, his spokesperson said Charles was out of self-isolation and was in good health. Two days later, he spoke out about the pandemic and praised the healthcare workers in a video message.
On Friday, the Prince of Wales appeared in another video message to formally open a new London field hospital built to treat coronavirus patients