Search

24 million watch the Queen’s poignant message of hope during coronavirus lockdown

PUBLISHED: 13:30 06 April 2020 | UPDATED: 14:25 06 April 2020

The Queen got the balance right, says James, but will we? Photo:  Buckingham Palace/PA Wire

The Queen got the balance right, says James, but will we? Photo: Buckingham Palace/PA Wire

Almost 24 million people watched the Queen delivered a message of hope to the nation, saying if we “remain united and resolute” in the face of the coronavirus outbreak “we will overcome it”.

The head of state warned the country, in lockdown for almost two weeks and with thousands dead after contracting Covid-19, “may have more still to endure”.

But she echoed the words of Forces’ sweetheart Dame Vera Lynne’s Second World War anthem, when she said “we will meet again”.

Figures suggest that the broadcast was watched by 14.1 million people on BBC One and 756,000 on the BBC News channel, with a further 5.3 million watching it on ITV, 2.5 million on Channel 4 and 615,000 on Channel Five. The number viewing online or listening on the radio are not so far available.

It was the second most watched broadcast since the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics (24.5 million), topped only by Boris Johnson’s address last month (25.2 million).

The rare televised address to the country and Commonwealth, the Queen sounded a positive note after what has been an unsettling period, saying: “We will succeed - and that success will belong to every one of us.”

Speaking from Windsor Castle, the Queen 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 a small minority outside into public spaces - 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.”

Dame Vera helped rally the nation during wartime with her songs, especially We’ll Meet Again which became a significant tune for servicemen fighting abroad and those at home separated from loved ones.

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.”

The veteran singer responded to the outbreak by releasing a video message in March, calling on the nation to pull together and overcome Covid-19.

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.

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.

MORE: Experts offer advice for good mental health

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 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 hoped in the future everyone will be able to feel “pride” in how they rose to the situation.

The message was written by the Queen with her private secretary Sir Edward Young, but there was no mention of the Prince of Wales who suffered mild coronavirus symptoms and completed a seven-day period of isolation.

It was only the fourth time the monarch had addressed the nation during troubled periods.

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.

Amid celebratory times, the Queen made a televised address to mark her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

For the latest COVID-19 news, visit the Norfolk Coronavirus Updates Facebook page.

Click here to find out more about the EDP’s Here to Help campaign.

You can also subscribe to our daily coronavirus newsletter, providing all the latest from where you live.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad, serving as your advocate and trusted source of local information. Our industry is facing testing times, which is why I’m asking for your support. Every single contribution will help us continue to produce award-winning local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press