'We will overcome it,' the Queen says of coronavirus in rare TV broadcast

By Zach Harper

The Queen made a rare television address to the UK and Commonwealth on April 5, saying that if the world is "united and resolute" it can defeat the coronavirus.

Her Majesty made the four-and-a-half television broadcast from Windsor Castle, where she and Prince Philip have been staying since March 19. In it, she acknowledged the difficulties many people are facing worldwide due to COVID-19 – not just because of infections, but also through job loss and other hardships.

Calling this an "increasingly challenging time," she thanked front line health care workers in the United Kingdom and abroad for their work in fighting the novel coronavirus, along with those who are still continuing to work in essential roles. She also expressed gratitude to those who remain at home, doing their best to safeguard those most vulnerable to the virus.

"Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it," she said.

"Across the Commonwealth and around the world, we have seen heart-warming stories of people coming together to help others, be it through delivering food parcels and medicines, checking on neighbours, or converting businesses to help the relief effort. And though self-isolating may at times be hard, 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."

Many have compared the fight against the coronavirus to a war, and Her Majesty lived through the Second World War. During that time, she was at Windsor Castle, too, sent there with her sister, the late Princess Margaret. During that period, the two made their first broadcast in 1940, and the Queen used her speech to acknowledge that similar challenges were overcome during that time.

"While we have faced challenges before, this one is different," she finished. "This time, we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavour, 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. 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."

The Queen – then Princess Elizabeth – and her sister, Princess Margaret, stayed at Windsor Castle during the Second World War. Photo: © Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Getty Images

Aside from her annual Christmas speeches, the 93-year-old monarch has rarely addressed the UK and Commonwealth. She's done so just four times: In 1991, when she spoke about the United Kingdom's involvement in the Gulf War; in 1997, after the death of Princess Diana; in 2002, after the death of the Queen Mother; and in 2012, as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The Queen's address is a welcome gesture of compassion, hope and kindness that comes as the world passed the grim milestone of more than 1 million coronavirus infections this week. As of April 5, that number had risen to more than 1,200,000, according to the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine. The illness has been responsible for more than 68,000 deaths worldwide. More than 258,000 people have recovered from the coronavirus.

Prince Charles, who has just recovered from COVID-19, appeared by video link this week to help open NHS Nightingale Hospital in London, which will treat coronavirus patients. Photo: © Stefan Rousseau - WPA Pool/Getty Images

One of those people who has recovered is Prince Charles. On March 25, it was revealed the Prince of Wales had tested positive for COVID-19 and was self-isolating at his Birkhall home on the Royal Family's Balmoral estate in Scotland. Duchess Camilla tested negative. The Queen has remained in good health despite Charles contracting the virus.

Here is the Queen's speech in full, if you'd like to read it:

"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.

"I want to thank everyone on the NHS front line, 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. I am sure the nation will join me in assuring 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, thereby helping to protect 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 and resolute, then we will overcome it.

"I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any. The attributes of self-discipline, of quiet, good-humoured resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterize this country. The pride in who we are is not a part of our past. It defines our present and our future.

"The moments when the United Kingdom has come together to applaud its care and essential workers will be remembered as an expression of our national spirit, and its symbols will be the rainbows drawn by children.

"Across the Commonwealth and around the world, we have seen heart-warming stories of people coming together to help others, be it through delivering food parcels and medicines, checking on neighbours, or converting businesses to help the relief effort. And though self-isolating may at times be hard, 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 painful sense of separation from their loved ones. 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 endeavour, 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. 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."

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