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FULL SPEECH: Queen Elizabeth II says collective effort will defeat COVID-19

In a recent undated handout image released by Buckingham Palace on April 5, 2020 Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II records her address to the UK and the Commonwealth in relation to the coronavirus epidemic at Windsor Castle, west of London.  PHOTO AFP

London, United Kingdom | AFP |  Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday thanked healthcare workers on the frontline of the fight against the coronavirus outbreak, promising that a united effort would help defeat the disease.

In a rare special televised address, the 93-year-old monarch drew on her experience in World War II, offering a message of hope to people forced to separate from family and friends. (full speech bottom)

The broadcast to Britain and Commonwealth nations came as billions of people across the world are forced to stay at home to stop close-contact transmission of the virus.

The monarch and her 98-year-old husband Prince Philip have been at Windsor Castle, west of London, as a precaution since March 19, as the death toll and number of positive tests increased.

Britain currently has 47,806 confirmed hospital cases and 4,934 deaths. Her own son, heir to the throne Prince Charles, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have both contracted the virus.

The queen warned the situation could persist but said the outbreak would be defeated through a collective effort in a “common endeavour”, including through scientific cooperation.

“We will succeed — and that success will belong to every one of us,” she said.

The message — only her fourth in a time of crisis in her 68-year reign — was recorded at Windsor, with a single camera operator wearing protective clothing as a precaution.

She personally thanked frontline staff in Britain’s state-run National Health Service (NHS), care workers and other key workers for “selflessly” carrying out essential roles.

She also paid tribute to everyone forced to stay at home to reduce the burden on the NHS, and to protect the elderly and vulnerable most at risk from the disease.

The broadcast featured footage of doctors and nurses, workers making deliveries, and military personnel helping to construct a new 4,000-bed field hospital in London.

Members of the public were also seen clapping in appreciation from their homes for frontline staff.

The queen said people in Britain and around the world could feel proud of their community response to the outbreak.

“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 added.

The queen drew on her experience during World War II, and recalled her first broadcast in 1940 with her sister princess Margaret, addressed to children evacuated from their families.

The sisters were sent to Windsor for safety as London was bombed.

She referenced British wartime singer Vera Lynn, whose song “We’ll Meet Again” became an anthem for service personnel fighting abroad, far from their loved ones.

“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.”

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FULL SPEECH

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 that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any. That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humoured resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterise 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 symbol 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.

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. That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humoured resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterise 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 symbol 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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