London, Apr 6:
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, in a rare televised address to the nation, invoked a war-time spirit of self-discipline and resolve to fight the coronavirus pandemic which has killed nearly 5,000 in the country and about 70,000 people globally, assuring Britons that “better days will return”.
The 93-year-old British monarch and Head of the 54-member Commonwealth of nations which includes India, acknowledged the grief, pain and financial difficulties being faced the world over during this “time of disruption” and expressed the hope that the whole world was uniting in a “common endeavour”.
“I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge,” she said on Sunday, in a four-minute speech recorded earlier this week at Windsor Castle.
“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-humoured resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterise this country,” she said.
The Queen, who has been based at Windsor Castle with her 98-year-old husband Prince Philip since last month, called on the British public to draw on their inherent traits as she exhorted them to carry on following the official government guidance to stay at home to protect the vulnerable and curb the rapid spread of the deadly virus.
“I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time. 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 monarch said, as she went on to thank key workers, including carers and those on the frontline of the COVID-19 fightback at the National Health Service (NHS) and acknowledged the pain felt by many families who have lost their loved ones in the pandemic.
“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,” she said.
The Queen concluded her address by again calling for unity saying, “we will succeed”.
Her “deeply personal” words were said to be chosen to echo those of her father, King George VI, during World War II, aimed at bringing the country together in a time of crisis. Apart from her annual Christmas message, it is rare for the British monarch to make a special address.
The previous times she addressed the nation in a similar way was at the time of the Gulf war in 1991, on the eve of the funeral of Princess Diana in 1997, on the death of the Queen Mother in 2002, and on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.