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Queen's Easter message: 'coronavirus will not overcome us'
11 April 2020, 18:20
The Queen has made her first Easter address to the nation during which the monarch stressed the importance of "keeping apart" to help keep others safe.
The head of the Church of England has used a pre-recorded Easter address to pledge to the nation "coronavirus will not overcome us."
The monarch offered support to those marking Easter privately and the wider country, and she said: "But Easter isn't cancelled; indeed, we need Easter as much as ever."
The speech concluded on a positive note: "May the living flame of the Easter hope be a steady guide as we face the future."
Using the Easter story and the religious customs associated with it to reinforce her message she said: "Many religions have festivals which celebrate light overcoming darkness. Such occasions are often accompanied by the lighting of candles.
"They seem to speak to every culture, and appeal to people of all faiths, and of none. They are lit on birthday cakes and to mark family anniversaries, when we gather happily around a source of light. It unites us.
"As darkness falls on the Saturday before Easter Day, many Christians would normally light candles together. In church, one light would pass to another, spreading slowly and then more rapidly as more candles are lit. It's a way of showing how the good news of Christ's resurrection has been passed on from the first Easter by every generation until now."
In the message which was posted on all the royal family social media channels, she goes on to wish everyone "of all faiths and denominations a blessed Easter".
The speech came after the Queen's televised address to the nation last Sunday when she said by remaining united the country would overcome the virus, and told those in lockdown "we will meet again".
The messages illustrate the importance of the head of the nation appearing at times of crisis to rally the country and keep up morale.
Easter is the most important period in the religious calendar for Christians. It is the culmination of holy week and celebrates the resurrection of Christ.
The Government is urging people to stay at home this Easter amid fears that with continuing good weather, people will flock to parks and beaches and undermine its social distancing strategy.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has acknowledged the warm weather but said it was too early to lift the social distancing measures.
The latest figures from the Department of Health reveal a total of 9,875 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Friday, up by 917 from 8,958 the day before.
Social distancing was observed during the recording of the message, with the Queen delivering the address alone into a microphone set up in Windsor Castle's White Drawing room while the sound engineer was in a nearby room.
Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will deliver his Easter sermon in a video recorded in his flat at Lambeth Palace.
He had an audience with the Queen on Thursday, speaking with the monarch by telephone due to the lockdown.
The Queen's message was broadcast on the royal family's digital and social media accounts.