Queen Elizabeth II gave a rare address to the nation on Sunday, uplifting the spirits of her people in the United Kingdom and offering hope to her country as it faces the devastating coronavirus pandemic. The reigning monarch acknowledged the suffering that many families have endured because of the COVID-19 crisis, which has infected over 42,000 people in the U.K. and killed at least 4,313 of them, according to researchers. The televised address was recorded in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle. The location was specifically chosen for the broadcast because it provided enough space between the 93-year-old and the cameraperson, who wore personal protective equipment. “I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time,” Elizabeth shared, “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.” The Queen also paid tribute to Britain’s beloved National Health Service and others in essential services, together with around 750,000 people who volunteer to help the vulnerable. “I want to thank everyone on the NHS frontline, 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 said. “I’m sure the nation will join me in ensuring you that what you do is appreciated and every hour of your hard work brings us closer to a return to more normal times.” “I also want to thank those of you who are staying at home,” Elizabeth noted on social distancing, “thereby protecting to help 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 in resolute then we will overcome it.” Elizabeth also remarked history will forever remember how the nation rose to the challenge during the crisis. “I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge,” she said. “And, those who come after us will say that 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 part of our past,” she continued. “It defines our present and our future. The moments when the United Kingdom has come 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 heartwarming 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.” Elizabeth noted that self-isolating can be challenging for those trying to make sense of the pandemic. However, their efforts to flatten the curve are being recognized and honored. “And though self-isolating may at times be hard,” she admitted. “[But] 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. It reminds me of the very first broadcast I made in 1940 helped by my sister. 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 sense of separation from their loved ones,” Elizabeth said. “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. 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,” she concluded. “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.” Sunday’s broadcast served as the first time the Queen has addressed the coronavirus on camera. Elizabeth has given yearly Christmas messages but has given an address like this only on three previous occasions. The British royal delivered speeches at the time of the first Gulf War in 1991, before the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, and after the Queen Mother’s death in 2002. The crisis hit close to home for the monarch. Her son and heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, had a mild case of the disease. The Prince of Wales, 71, has since recovered, his office, Clarence House, confirmed.
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