“It reminds me of the very first show I did in 1940 with the help of my sister. As children, we have spoken here to Windsor to children who have been evacuated from their homes and returned for their own safety. 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. ”
In October 1940, as the blitz began in London and after only one year of war, a teenage girl, Princess Elizabeth, addressed the children of the Empire as they were sent to the countryside, to Canada and elsewhere to escape the incessant aerial bombardment. It was a hopeful message, conveyed at a time of great anxiety and fear among many families. It was therefore normal for the Queen to remind us of her only previous public remarks during a period of serious international crisis.
The Queen spoke, in her generally discreet manner, at “an increasingly difficult time”. His previous unforeseen addresses were given in times of mourning for family members, after the Gulf War in 1991 or at the end of his diamond jubilee. They don’t compare to the sense of drama and anxiety in which Her Majesty spoke on Sunday. Aside from her usual Christmas or Commonwealth messages, the Queen did not pronounce more than these four addresses during her 68 years of reign – an indication of how no time has demanded this type of goal unity and solidarity. This speech is unlike anything that has happened before. The rarity of his speech in this way invests his words with much greater importance.
With that in mind, let’s look at what lies between the lines of the parts of the speech:
” I want thank you all on the front line of the NHS, as good as social workers and those who play essential roles, who continue to lose interest in their daily tasks outside the home to support us all. ”
This is a tribute to the workers of the National Health Service, an iconic British institution and much like Canadian hospitals and public health workers.
” I also want to thanks to those who stay at home, so help protect vulnerable people and sparing many families the pain already felt by those who lost loved ones. Together we are fighting this disease and I want to reassure you that if we stay united and resolved, we will overcome it. ”
The Queen clearly encourages people to follow public health advice and to enlist us all in the fight against COVID while expressing sympathy to the families of those who lost their lives.
” I hope in the years to come, everyone can be proud of their response to this challenge. And those who come after will tell us that the British this generation was as strong as any other. That the attributes of self-discipline, calm good humor and sympathy still characterize this country. The pride of who we are is is not part of our past, it defines our present and our future. ”
Her Majesty challenges this generation to play their part as they did in their own test, World War II. She also reminds her people that the British tradition of calm in the face of danger and adversity is part of the national identity.
” Across the Commonwealth and all over the world we have seen comforting stories of people come together to help otherswhether it be delivery of food and medicine packages, verification of neighbors, or business conversion to help relief efforts. ”
In this nod to the Commonwealth of which she is the head, The Queen reminds listeners that she is not only the Queen of the United Kingdom, but also 15 other kingdoms, such as Canada and an important symbol of the 54 nations of the Commonwealth. At the time of speaking, all but a few of the South Pacific island nations are reporting cases of viruses.
“Well self-isolation can sometimes be difficult, many people of all faiths, and none, find that presents an opportunity to slow down, pause and reflect, in prayer or meditation. ”
This is a rare moment as we deal with this event to encourage people to seek positive, the opportunity to slow down and spend time with their family and their faith. It is a nod to his own role as supreme governor of the Church of England, especially at Easter.
The Queen ended with a powerfully positive and hopeful statement that has not been lost on anyone:
“We will succeed – and that success will belong to each of us.
We should be reassured that even 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. “
Speaking of which, 103-year-old Vera Lynn and her wartime song “We Will See Each Other” were an undeniable nod to an older generation and their time. For many, it was very moving. Soon to be 94, the Queen sent a strong signal to those who are older of her own resilience as a symbol of hope for those whose lives and health are in danger.
The Queen then sent a special message to Canadians, followed by a statement from her representative in Canada, who thanked the Queen and said that Canadians would take up the challenge with courage, determination and kindness.
In just over 500 words and five minutes, the world’s oldest head of state has comforted and hoped for many people and has shown real leadership as “Mother of the Nation”. It was done in a way that politicians do not have and perhaps cannot. For many, it was a sign that something was working as it should and reminds us that the institution’s sustainability and value may have been one of its best moments.