The Queen to acknowledge the UK's 'grief' as she addresses nation on Covid-19

5 April 2020, 07:52

The Queen is to address the nation later today
The Queen is to address the nation later today. Picture: Getty

By Asher McShane

The Queen will use her address to the nation to acknowledge the "grief, financial difficulties, and enormous changes" families are facing during the coronavirus outbreak.

In her televised message, to be broadcast this Sunday evening, the head of state is due to send a message of personal thanks to frontline NHS staff, care workers and others carrying out essential roles for their efforts.

The broadcast will be a deeply personal message reflecting her experience in other difficult times.

Her words come almost two weeks into the lockdown to tackle the spread of Covid-19.

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

A Tesco worker in a protective mask
A Tesco worker in a protective mask. Picture: PA

And she will add that in years to come, this generation will be judged as "strong as any".

Commenting on the difficulties facing the nation, the Queen will say: "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."

The message has been highly anticipated and comes as the country braces itself each day for the death toll from the virus, which has forced much of normal life to be suspended.

The latest figures from the Department of Health showed the number of coronavirus-related hospital deaths stood at 4,313 as of 5pm on Friday, up from 3,605 the day before.

The Queen will also say in her address to the country and Commonwealth: "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."

With the weekend predicted to be the warmest of the year so far, the Queen will also thank those who are following the official guidance to stay at home to protect the vulnerable.

The televised address will be a rare event, with the head of state only making three previous appearances during troubled times.

Speeches were broadcast after the Queen Mother's death in 2002, ahead of Diana, Princess of Wales's funeral in 1997 and about the first Gulf War in 1991.

It was recorded at Windsor Castle under special circumstances after specific advice from the Medical Household was sought, and followed, to mitigate any risk to the Queen and others.

The castle's White Drawing Room was specifically chosen so that an appropriate distance could be maintained between the Queen and the other occupant - a cameraman wearing personal protective equipment.

The broadcast was produced by BBC Studios Events and other staff were in another room connected by speakers.

The Queen has been staying at her Berkshire home of Windsor Castle, with the Duke of Edinburgh, after she moved to the royal residence on March 19, earlier than normal for the Easter period, as a precaution.

Buckingham Palace announced in March that in consultation with the Medical Household and Government, a number of public events with large numbers of people due to have been attended by the Queen and other members of the royal family in the coming months would be cancelled or postponed.

The monarch and her family have been conducting some of their royal duties by telephone or video link, with the Prince of Wales opening the new NHS Nightingale Hospital in east London on Friday remotely from his Scottish home.

The Queen's address will be broadcast on TV and radio and shown on the royal family's social media at 8pm on Sunday.