Queen Elizabeth addresses the British: an extremely rare event

Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain will greet the British public’s response to the coronavirus challenge on Sunday evening in a solemn address, an extremely rare act on the part of the Sovereign.

“I hope that in the years to come everyone can be proud of the way we have risen to this challenge,” the Queen said, according to extracts broadcast by her services on Saturday. “And those who come after us will say that the British of this generation were as strong as the others,” and “that the qualities of self-discipline, benevolent determination and camaraderie still characterize this country,” the head of state added in a speech that was “deeply personal,” according to her services.

The televised address, broadcast on Sunday at 7 p.m. GMT to the British and Commonwealth nations, is only the fourth since the start of Elizabeth II’s 68-year reign. The speech was recorded at Windsor Castle, west of London, where the Queen and her husband Prince Philip have resided since March 19.

They are 93 and 98 years of age respectively and are among the population at risk. Their entourage assured that the couple were in good health and were following the government’s directives. Their heir son Charles (71) has contracted the disease, but has recently been released from quarantine and is also in good health.

Three precedents
The royal intervention will take place the day after the announcement of a new daily record of 708 additional deaths of COVID-19 patients in the UK, including a five-year-old child. This brings the total to 4,313 people who have died in British hospitals since the outbreak began. A total of 41,903 positive cases have been officially recorded in the country. The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has himself been infected.

The Queen’s three previous speeches in times of crisis or bereavement were held in 1991 during the first Gulf War, in 1997 on the eve of Princess Diana’s funeral, and in 2002 after the death of her mother.

As well, in 2012, Elizabeth II expressed her thanks on television for the 60th anniversary celebrations of her accession to the throne. She also sends her greetings to the nation every Christmas.