Queen Elizabeth II salutes viral response in rare address


London (AFP) – Queen Elizabeth II will urge people to take up the challenge posed by the coronavirus epidemic in a rare special address to the British and Commonwealth nations on Sunday.

In excerpts published on Saturday of what royal officials said was a “deeply personal” speech, the 93-year-old monarch will say that she has faith that people will respond, despite the difficulties.

The show, scheduled to air Sunday at 7:00 p.m. GMT, is only the fourth time in 68 years that she has delivered a special television address outside of her annual Christmas message.

This comes as daily deaths in Britain hit a record 708, including a five-year-old child on Saturday, bringing the overall toll to 4,313 – and the country was preparing for a third week of confinement.

According to Buckingham Palace, the Queen will personally thank front-line health workers and other key workers for their efforts during the crisis.

“I’m talking to you about what I know to be an increasingly difficult time,” she said in the speech recorded at Windsor Castle, west of London.

“A period of disruption in the life of our country: a disruption that has caused grief to some, financial hardship to many and huge changes in the daily lives of all of us. “

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who turned out to be positive for COVID-19, has put his government on the war foot, calling for a collective response to the epidemic.

Some 750,000 people responded to his call for volunteers to support the state-run National Health Service (NHS), the elderly and vulnerable who are currently isolated.

The initial call involved 250,000 people, while business and industry have been unseenly mobilized since the Second World War.

The Queen will say, “I hope that in the years to come, everyone can be proud of how they have taken up this challenge.

“And those who will succeed us will say that the British of this generation were as strong as the others.

“That the attributes of self-discipline, good quiet resolve and sympathy still characterize this country. “

– Precautions –

The Queen and her 98-year-old husband, Prince Philip, moved to Windsor Castle on March 19 as a precaution due to their age, which puts them in a high risk category.

Royal officials said the couple were in good health and were following government directives.

Her eldest son and heir, Prince Charles, 71, isolated on his large estate of Balmoral in the north-east of Scotland after developing mild symptoms of COVID-19.

As a precaution, he officially opened a new 4,000-bed field hospital in east London via video link to treat the most seriously ill on Thursday.

The royal family cut back on commitments and Sunday’s speech was recorded by a single cameraman wearing personal protective equipment, royal officials said.

Specific advice from royal doctors was sought to mitigate any risk to the Queen and the others, they added.

The Queen’s intervention was her first at difficult times since her mother’s death in 2002. Before that, she addressed the nation on the eve of Diana, the funeral of the Princess of Wales in 1997.

It also spread a message in 1991 during the first Gulf War.

A fourth message in 2012 was to thank the public after the celebrations for its diamond jubilee, marking the 60th anniversary of his accession to the throne.


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