Queen Elizabeth II delivered a special televised address on Sunday, a rarity intended to boost morale amid the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking from Windsor Castle, where she is currently isolating, the 93-year-old monarch praised the country’s “self-discipline” and “quiet, good-humored resolve” in “an increasingly challenging time.”
Acknowledging the grief, financial distress, and “enormous changes” to daily life the virus has wrought, the queen thanked essential workers, “who selflessly continue their day-to-day duties outside the home.” She also thanked those adhering to social-distancing policies and “staying at home, thereby helping to protect the vulnerable and sparing many families the pain already felt by those who have lost loved ones.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson — who was reportedly hospitalized on Sunday as a “precautionary step,” ten days after testing positive for the coronavirus — put a stay-at-home order in place in the U.K. on March 24. According to the BBC, however, improving weather resulted in crowded London parks over the weekend, prompting a stern rebuke from Health Secretary Matt Hancock at Sunday’s daily briefing. “You’re risking your own life and the lives of others, and you’re making it harder for us all,” Hancock said. Reporting that the U.K. had seen 621 coronavirus-related deaths in the past 24 hours, bringing the total up to 4,934, Hancock called the flouting of social-distancing rules “quite unbelievable.” At time of writing, 47,806 people had tested positive for the coronavirus in the U.K., including Prince Charles, who exited self-isolation last week.
During her address — the fourth of its nature she has made in her 66 years on the throne, per the New York Times — the queen also emphasized the need to stay indoors. “I hope in the years to come, everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge,” she said, “and those who come after us will be able to say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any.”
“Many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones, but … we know deep down that it is the right thing to do,” the queen continued. “While we have faced challenges before, this time is different. This time, we join with all nations across the the globe in a common endeavor, 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.”