The Queen tells nation: Success in coronavirus fight will belong to every one of us

5 April 2020, 20:28 | Updated: 5 April 2020, 20:32

By Asher McShane

The Queen has delivered a message of hope to the nation, saying the UK “will succeed” in the fight against coronavirus, and that success will “belong to every one of us.”

The head of state says the UK must "remain united and resolute" in the face of the coronavirus outbreak and that "we will overcome it".

She warned the country, in lockdown for almost two weeks and with thousands dead after contracting Covid-19, "may have more still to endure".

READ MORE: What were the Queen's previous four speeches about?

The Queen said the UK "will succeed" in the fight against coronavirus
The Queen said the UK "will succeed" in the fight against coronavirus. Picture: Buckingham Palace

In a rare televised address to the country and Commonwealth, the Queen, speaking from Windsor Castle, personally thanked frontline NHS staff, care workers and others for "selflessly" carrying out their essential roles which had brought "us closer to a return to more normal times".

The pre-recorded message was filmed before the sunny weekend, which tempted people to flout the government's lockdown rules in parks - but many remained indoors.

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.

"Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it."

The Queen, who is from the wartime generation, 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."

Turning to her own experiences, the Queen sympathised with those feeling a "painful sense of separation from their loved ones" and described how during the Blitz in 1940 she gave her first radio broadcast to evacuated children.

The then 14-year-old Princess Elizabeth had been sent for safety to Windsor Castle with her sister Princess Margaret, and she called on evacuated youngsters to have courage - telling them she and Margaret knew what it was like to be separated from those they loved.

Acknowledging the changing religious landscape as Christians celebrated Palm Sunday, the Queen 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."

She added: "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."

The broadcast featured footage of NHS frontline staff, workers making deliveries and military personnel helping to construct the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCel centre in east London.

People taking part in the Clap for Carers tribute were also shown, along with rainbow pictures drawn by children - in honour of the carers - and a black and white image of the Queen's first radio broadcast.

The Queen said: "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 head of state also will acknowledged the "grief" some have experienced, the "financial difficulties" many face and the "enormous changes" the country is enduring.

With hundreds of thousands answering the call for NHS volunteers and others supporting vulnerable people in their communities, the monarch said she hopes in the future everyone will be able to feel "pride" in how they rose to the situation.

The Queen’s message to the nation in full:

"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."