Watch: Queen Elizabeth Rallies British People With Speech On Coronavirus Pandemic
“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,” the queen said.
“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,” she continued.
Though the queen gives a speech every Christmas, this is only the fifth time she has addressed the nation for another reason during her reign. Her other speeches marked events including her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, her mother’s death in 2002, the death of Princess Diana in 1997 and the First Gulf War in 1991.
“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-humored resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterize this country,” she said in the prerecorded clip from Windsor Castle, where she has been isolating herself.
“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,” the queen said.
“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.”
Soon after the queen’s speech, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized as a “precautionary step” because of complications due to COVID-19. Johnson, 55, first tested positive for the virus 10 days ago. On Friday, he tweeted that he was in “good spirits.”
Last night, on the advice of my doctor, I went into hospital for some routine tests as I’m still experiencing coronavirus symptoms. I’m in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team, as we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe.
— Boris Johnson #StayHomeSaveLives (@BorisJohnson) April 6, 2020
The UK has more than 47,806 cases of coronavirus and 4,934 deaths as of Monday.