'Draw strength and confidence from the message of Diwali': Prince Charles shares a message for the Festival of Lights during COVID-19

By Heather Cichowski

The Festival of Diwali is taking place this weekend. The Indian Festival of Lights is one of the most popular festivals and a time for people to come together, often over a five-day period, to celebrate light over darkness and a new year.

With the coronavirus pandemic remaining a serious issue and lockdown measures in effect in many places, people celebrating Diwali will be doing it very differently this year in an effort to flatten the curve of COVID-19 and keep everyone safe.

Prince Charles acknowledged this in a video message that was shared across the Clarence House social media channels. The Prince of Wales encouraged those celebrating Diwali to remember some of the key themes of the celebration.

Charles's full message was shared on the Royal Family's YouTube channel on Nov. 12. The Prince of Wales spoke for nearly four minutes.

"I wanted to take this opportunity to send my very best wishes to everyone celebrating Diwali here in the United Kingdom, across the Commonwealth and all around the world," the soon-to-be-72-year-old began. "I feel a particular joy in doing so this year as the Festival of Diwali itself coincides with my birthday on November the 14th.

"The Festival of Lights is, I know, a special time for families and friends to come together, to share gifts and sweets, and to enjoy each other's company."

He discussed how COVID-19 will impact the celebrations this year.

"Very sadly, this year the ongoing public health crisis means that this will simply not be possible for so many of you and I can so well imagine how difficult and disappointing this must be," he said.

"Amid these strange and difficult circumstances, however, I do hope that you might still draw strength and confidence from the message of Diwali, that ultimately good will triumph over evil, hope over despair, and light over darkness.

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The Prince of Wales went on to say the timeless message of Diwali is something that will likely resonate across those celebrating from all different faiths as well as none. Additionally, he said he has been touched to see how communities have been helping those who are vulnerable and most in need during these difficult times. Charles expressed "his gratitude and admiration" for all they're doing, including those in key roles and on the frontlines during the pandemic.

Duchess Camilla and Prince Charles attend Diwali celebrations at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple on Nov. 9, 2007 in London. Photo: © Pool/Anwar Hussein Collection/WireImage

"This brings you all my warmest greetings on the occasion of Diwali and, for those of you marking a New Year, let me wish you a happy, peaceful and prosperous year ahead," he finished.

He then lit a candle and wished viewers a "Shubh Diwali" or "Happy Diwali."

In his Instagram video message, the Prince of Wales included photographs from when he and Duchess Camilla participated in Diwali celebrations at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple in 2007 (pictured above).

The message comes when England is currently in another lockdown and many other countries are imposing tighter restrictions. The points about good and hope will hopefully bring comfort and happiness to people celebrating Diwali this year.

Shubh Diwali!


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