Queen Elizabeth II has made a rare televised address to offer words of reassurance at a time when much of the world is in lockdown. In a broadcast shown on television in the United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth, the Queen, echoing the World War II song by Dame Vera Lynne, said: “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.”
Queen Elizabeth is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Head of the Commonwealth, and Head of State in a large number of countries with Anglican Churches. In her message, broadcast on Sunday (5 April), she acknowledged that Covid-19 and the restrictions imposed to limits its spread, had resulted in “an increasingly challenging time” and “a time of disruption . . . that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all.”
She praised health and care workers in the UK, and those who were staying in doors to protect the vulnerable; and added: “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 neighbours, or converting businesses to help the relief effort.
“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.”
She spoke of her first ever radio broadcast, made in 1940 with her sister, Princess Margaret, saying: “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.”
On the global impact of the current restrictions, the Queen said: “While we have faced challenges before, this one is different. This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavour, 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.”
Queen Elizabeth is staying in Windsor Castle with her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh where they are practising social distancing. Because of their ages – the Queen will have her 94th birthday in a fortnight (21 April) and Prince Philip is 98 – they are considered vulnerable to the coronavirus.
Prince Charles, aged 71, has already tested positive for Covid-19 and went into self-isolation in Birkhall, his Scottish home in Royal Deeside. He has recovered and last-week officially opened the new 4,000-bed Nightingale Hospital in London by video-link. The Hospital was built in just 10 days with the help of the British armed forces and is one of a number being built across the UK to help the National Health Service cope with the number of Covid-19 patients.