Queen Elizabeth offers a “lasting and reassuring voice” in the face of the COVID-19 crisis


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Even the backdrop to the Queen Elizabeth Sunday special, which reassured and urged resilience in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, told a story.

Unlike her usual Christmas shows, when family photos are prominently displayed, no such personal reminder was visible in the message recorded at Windsor Castle, where she is practically isolated with her husband, Prince Philip .

“The no-frills context underscored the distance from his extended family, reflecting the experiences of the general public during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Toronto-based author and historian Carolyn Harris.

“The personal elements of the show, including the importance of prayer and meditation, emphasized solitude, according to the conditions of the time. “

These are rare moments, and the Queen’s show, which lasted about 4½ minutes, was a rare moment for her. So far, she has only made similar television messages a handful of times, including after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997, and after the death of her own mother, Queen Elizabeth, the queen mother, in 2002.

But even these addresses were different.

Watch Queen Elizabeth’s message:

In a rare message to the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth addressed the COVID-19 pandemic. “I hope that in the years to come, everyone can be proud of how they have taken up this challenge,” she said. 4:24

“There was a strong emphasis on her role in her own family as a grandmother or as a daughter, in addition to her role as sovereign,” said Harris.

“In COVID-19, the Queen emphasized her role as sovereign, ensuring unity and continuity through the institution of the monarchy, the longevity of her reign and her personal experiences of experiencing the Second World War. “

This experience included the first show she made with her sister Margaret in 1940.

“As children, we have spoken here to Windsor with children who have been evacuated from their homes and returned for their own safety,” said the Queen. “Today, again, many will experience a painful feeling of separation from their loved ones. But now, as then, we know, deep down, that this is the right thing to do. “

“We can overcome this”

Recalling this show from 80 years ago, suggested John Fraser, author of The Secret of the Crown: Canada’s Affair with Royalty, the queen signaled that this too should pass.

“The past can also tell us that we can overcome this,” said Fraser.

In the Sunday broadcast by Elizabeth, whom he considered “very calm, very moving,” Fraser saw a monarch talk a lot like she always has.

Queen Elizabeth speaks to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Windsor Castle on March 25, 2020, for his weekly audience. (Buckingham Palace via the Associated Press)

“You saw this rigid sense of duty,” he said. “She never lets go. “

And maybe, just maybe, there was a bit of an indirect rebuke to those who didn’t take the government to heart to stay at home, suggested Fraser, given the way the Queen spoke to hope that people can be proud of the years to come in the way they have responded to the challenges that surround them today.

Although there was no overt religious overtones in Sunday’s message, both Harris and Fraser saw the Queen’s desire to be inclusive and inclusive of everyone.

“Faith was clear”

“The Queen’s religious faith was clear on her broadcast, encouraging people to take time at home to pause, reflect and take time to pray or meditate,” said Harris.

“The language of speech was inclusive and the Queen spoke to those of all faiths and none, but the remarks were clearly informed by her own deeply held beliefs. “

Ending her speech as she did, invoking the famous song from World War II We will meet again, by Vera Lynn, the Queen turned to optimism and hope.

The Queen’s message on Sunday referred to the war song we will meet again from Vera Lynn, which is pictured in this archive photo. (Matthew Fearn / The Associated Press)

It was the “highlight” of a speech, said Fraser, who came in a voice that has been steadfast throughout his reign.

“It’s his voice – for me, it’s a lasting and reassuring voice in its continuity. “

Harris said that through reference to the song and the Queen’s own war show, she drew parallels between the current crisis and World War II, although she noted that the current pandemic differs from other international crises. .

“There is a commonality in the need to bring people together, accept changes in their daily lives and do everyone’s part to overcome a threat to everyone’s safety and security,” said Harris.

Coronavirus and the royal family

Prince Charles delivers a video message from his home in Scotland after a positive coronavirus test. (Clarence House / The Associated Press)

The effects of the coronavirus on the royal family varied from the very personal – Prince Charles came out of his self-isolation after a positive test for infection – to the very public, with the postponement or cancellation of planned visits and events annual.

Charles also delivered a video message last week from his home in Scotland, where he and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, stayed.

“None of us can say when it will end, but end it,” said Charles. “Until that is the case, let’s all try to live in hope and, with faith in ourselves and each other, hope that times will be better. ”

Members of the royal family congratulated and supported health workers and others fighting the pandemic.

Prince William and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, visited an ambulance center and met with staff to answer calls from the public and made calls to hospital staff. A video they shared on social media provided a rare glimpse of their three children together as they cheered to support staff and volunteers at the National Health Service.

While international travel is irrelevant for almost everyone at the moment, for the royal family, this meant postponing the trips to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus and Jordan that had been planned for Charles and Camilla.

And for the future, various regular events on the royal calendar have also been canceled, including the annual garden parties at Buckingham Palace later in the spring.

Trooping the Color, the official event every June that sees royal pomp and decoration parading the streets of London to celebrate the Queen’s birthday, will not take place in its traditional form.

The wedding plans for Princess Beatrice and Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi have been altered due to the pandemic. (Benoit Tessier / Reuters)

And a family member saw his marriage plan changed. Princess Beatrice, eldest daughter of Prince Andrew, is expected to marry fiance Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi on May 29, but the reception in the gardens of Buckingham Palace has been canceled, and she is said to be revising her plans for the wedding.

Harris says that in times of national or global crisis, the public is concerned with how the royal family copes with the crisis and “if it experiences some of the same restrictions and deprivations as the general population.”

If they are seen to share the same conditions, their popularity increases, Harris said. She noted that the First Lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt, observed during a visit during World War II that “the windows of Buckingham Palace were closed, there was a line around the tub to indicate the amount of water to use and a rationed amount of food served. the decorated dishes that were traditional at official dinners. ”

On the way to California

Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, arrive at the Royal Albert Hall in London on March 7, 2020. (Simon Dawson / The Associated Press)

Although there has been no word from Prince Harry and Meghan since they officially retired as senior members of the royal family a few days ago, they would be largely in California.

The couple are believed to have moved out of the house where they had stayed with their young son Archie on Vancouver Island about two weeks ago.

Being in California would bring Meghan, a former actress, back to the state where she was born and close to her mother, Doria Ragland, who lives in Los Angeles.

Harry and Meghan had been in British Columbia since November and returned there after a brief trip to London in January just before their seismic announcement that they wanted to step back and seek financial independence. They also returned to London for a series of engagements that ended with their attendance at Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey on March 9.

Prince Harry and Meghan are seated behind Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, during the annual Commonwealth service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 9, 2020. (Phil Harris / The Associated Press)

“I guess Canada was an easy first step because Meghan had friends there from her seven years in Toronto, and we lent them a house over the Christmas period,” royal biographer Penny Junor, author of Prince Harry: brother soldier son, said by email

“Who knows if she had always planned to move to California? As a career, it’s not bad. But that strikes me as a shame because, as a Commonwealth kingdom, Canada was a more natural home for Harry and there was a certain logic to his stay there – especially when he hoped to be a part-time royal. ”

But that proved to be impossible under the agreement that allowed them to step back.

Harry and Meghan’s use of the SussexRoyal brand ended last week, and no announcements have been made on what form their future charity work or efforts may take.

Their latest post on their SussexRoyal Instagram account acknowledged the current pandemic and said they are looking forward to reconnecting with people soon.

“What is most important right now is the health and well-being of everyone around the world and finding solutions to the many problems that have arisen as a result of this pandemic,” they wrote. .

“As we all find the role we need to play in this global change and change of habits, we are focusing this new chapter to understand how we can best contribute. “

Royally quotable

“We should be reassured because if we have more to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we’ll see each other again. “

– Queen Elizabeth, during her broadcast on Sunday in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Royal bed

  1. The Queen’s time in virtual self-isolation at Windsor Castle was far from simple, according to a Daily Mail writer.

  2. Prince Harry and Meghan would have gone to L.A., but they may have to work to maintain their A List status. [The Guardian]

  3. Following the recent announcement of two royal divorces, a professor of British history maintains that it is vital that the royal family came About that. [CNN]

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