Queen Elizabeth II Speaks
Queen Elizabeth visiting the White House on May 4, 2007. Photo Credit: The White House Archives
by Otis Odom
On April 5, 2020, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II united and comforted the citizens of the U.K. when she spoke about the coronavirus crisis in a rare four-minute taped address.
Outside of her annual Christmas Day message, this is only the fifth time the queen has addressed the nation. Prior, she had given speeches during the Gulf War, after the death of Princess Diana of Wales, the death of her mother, and at the time of her Diamond Jubilee.
After 10 days of Prime Minister Boris Johnson battling the coronavirus, and 40,000 Britains infected, including her eldest son and heir, Prince Charles, from Windsor Castle, the queen made her remarks. She thanked healthcare workers who have put their health and lives at risk, saying: “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. 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 stated, “I hope in the years to come 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. 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.”
Addressing a nation on lockdown since March 23, she graciously added, “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 mediation.”
She recalled, in 1940, when she was 14 and she and her sister spoke on the radio to children being evacuated from England to escape German Luftwaffe bombing. “We, as children, spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety. 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.”
She seemed to appeal to everyone around the world when she ended her speech saying, “While we have faced challenges before, this one is different. 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.”
The British government has predicted the peak of the coronavirus crisis to hit around Easter Sunday, and this week repeatedly urged citizens to stay indoors.
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