In this time of quarantine and social distancing, Britain has also been under full lockdown, with closings of bars, restaurants, and all shops. Much like Americans, British people are being ordered to stay home unless absolutely necessary as the COVID-19 crisis worsens.
The Royal Family is working hard to keep the nation calm and informed, despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson falling ill with COVID-19 earlier this month. Queen Elizabeth II, specifically, rarely addresses the nation.
Aside from her Christmas Day message, which is televised, it is taboo for the Queen to be broadcasted, and therefore, she has only ever been broadcasted live four times during her 68 years as Queen.
The other broadcasts include the death of her mother in 2002, her 60th year as Queen in 2012, an address about the Gulf War in 1991, and the death of her daughter-in-law Princess Diana in 1997. This broadcast is the fifth of its kind, making it both rare and important.
In a time where the nation’s prime minister has been battling the virus from the hospital, it was imperative for the Queen to rally the nation and urge unity and positivity in a time of crisis.
Nearly 40,000 people in Britain have had or currently have COVID-19, including the Queen’s oldest son, Prince Charles. The Queen herself has been quarantined alone in Windsor Castle, where her remarks to her nation were filmed.
She is almost 94 years old, and Buckingham Palace has taken drastic measures to ensure she is properly quarantined and kept separate from the public. Given the news that her son had been infected, fear has grown regarding the Queen’s own health.
In her statements, the Queen advocated for continued social distancing and compared their current situation to the way Britain sacrificed during WWII. She spoke with eloquence and grace, reminding the nation that she empathizes with them and understands the pain in separation and other burdens.
“In the years to come, everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge,” the queen said, “and those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any. That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humored resolve and of fellow-feeling, still characterize this country.”
Britain currently seems to be following the trends of many other European countries given news of rising cases. That being said, the Queen maintained positivity in her broadcast, though she urged the people of Britain to stay at home, stay quarantined, and stay socially distanced.