'Difficult to be hopeful': Queen's message to Aussies amid coronavirus

Penny Burfitt
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·9-min read

The Queen has shared a message with Australian’s as the global coronavirus pandemic intensifies.

Following her televised message to the commonwealth from Windsor Castle where she is under isolation to protect herself from COVID-19 on Sunday evening, UK time the Queen sent a direct message to Australians in a heartfelt statement.

Queen Elizabeth has addressed the Commonwealth this morning, in a stirring message of support. Photo: The Royal Family
Queen Elizabeth has addressed the Commonwealth this morning, in a stirring message of support. Photo: The Royal Family

The monarch expressed her sympathy for the double blow of first the Summer’s bushfires, and now the global pandemic.

"At a time when people across the Commonwealth are experiencing a profound and rapid change to their lives, the pain of lost loved ones, and an understandable concern about the future, my thoughts are with all Australians," she said in a statement shared with the Governor-General.

"Whilst it can be difficult to remain hopeful in such challenging times, especially following the summer's devastating bushfires and recent flooding, I am confident that the stoic and resilient nature of the Australian people will rise to the challenge.”

"I extend my sincere admiration to the many Australians who work tirelessly to help those affected, provide essential services for their fellow citizens, and continue to care for the most vulnerable,” she continued.

"You will remain in my prayers in the coming months, with the resolute knowledge that with hard work, faith and unity, we will rise to the challenges ahead and ensure the health and vitality of all Australia's communities.”

"I send my thanks and warmest good wishes to you all,” she concluded the message.

The letter was shared with Governor General David Hurley. Photo: Facebook
The letter was shared with Governor General David Hurley. Photo: Facebook

The statement comes after the historic video address released this morning, only the fifth of it’s kind.

Outside of the annual Christmas address, Queen Elizabeth ahs spoken in a televised address to the nation only five times, almost always under times of national emergency or tragedy.

She spoke upon the death of the Queen Mother in 2002, Princess Diana's death in 1997 and the first Gulf War in 1991, as well as to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

This time, the monarch was filmed by a lone cameraman covered in protective equipment, as a measure against the contagious virus that poses a unique risk to the elderly.

Queen addresses ‘challenging time’

The Queen assured her subjects they ‘will succeed’ in the face of the COVID-19 threat, and hearkened back to her very first national address with sister Margaret in WWII on the occasion of the evacuation of children from cities, saying Britons of this generation are proving themselves ‘as strong as any’.

“I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time,” she began the broadcast.

“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.”

She went on to thank the NHS – the UK’s National Health Service – workers battling the pandemic on the frontline, as well as those simply staying home to slow the spread.

“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.”

Queen says pandemic reminds her of WWII

The monarch compared the tumultuous time to the difficulties of the Second World War, where incidentally she made her very first address to the nation with sister Margaret.

“It reminds me of the very first broadcast I made, in 1940, helped by my sister,” she said.

“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.”

The Queen compared the address, and the dark time to WWII , when she first addressed the nation as a child. Photo: The Royal Family
The Queen compared the address, and the dark time to WWII , when she first addressed the nation as a child. Photo: The Royal Family

In a stirring moment of assurance, the 93-year-old, whose own son Charles contracted the virus and beat it last week, told listeners she was certain their best efforts will overcome the disease

“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 said.

“I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge.”

She went on to compare the British doing their part to those who fought and won World War II on the battlefield and the homefront.

“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,” she said.

“The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future.”

She described the response to the virus as an ‘expression of the national spirit’, and said ‘the rainbows drawn by children’ would become the symbol of the nation’s response.

The broadcast included images of rainbows drawn by children for frontline workers. Photo: The Royal Family
The broadcast included images of rainbows drawn by children for frontline workers. Photo: The Royal Family

She also took a moment to acknowledge the acts of kindness and neighbourliness to emerge from the virus.

“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,” she said.

“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.”

Finally, the Queen acknowledged the unique challenge of the virus, while insisting the world will beat the disease.

“While we have faced challenges before, this one is different,” she said. “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.”

The royal family has felt the sting of COVID-19, with Charles testing positive to the virus and sharing his experience with the nation via his own video address, and Princess Eugenie’s father-in-law similarly falling victim.

Read the full speech below:

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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