Queen Elizabeth II calls for 'good-humored resolve' as coronavirus deaths rise in UK

It was only the fifth time during her 68-year reign that the Queen has made a special broadcast.
Queen Elizabeth during her address to the nation and the Commonwealth in relation to the coronavirus epidemic, recorded at Windsor Castle, Britain , on April 5, 2020.
Queen Elizabeth during her address to the nation and the Commonwealth in relation to the coronavirus epidemic, recorded at Windsor Castle, Britain , on April 5, 2020.Buckingham Palace / Reuters
/ Source: NBC News

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II urged her subjects to show the same “self-discipline” and “quiet good-humored resolve” that characterized previous generations in a rare address to the nation about the coronavirus epidemic on Sunday.

The monarch acknowledged the grief, financial difficulties and “enormous changes to the daily lives” felt by many families during “a time of disruption” in a pre-recorded televised address meant to rally the nation.

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"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," the 93-year-old said.

“That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humored resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterize this country."

The queen thanked medical staff on the front lines of the epidemic and essential workers for their contributions to the national fight against the virus. She also compared the address to a similar broadcast during World War II.

"We, as children, spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety," she said. "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."

Her speech comes as the number of deaths from the respiratory illness in the U.K. climbed over 4,300 on Saturday.

The queen’s address was recorded at Windsor Castle, where she moved last month with her husband Prince Phillip, 98, as the virus started to spread. She will remain there for the Easter period as a precaution.

Buckingham Palace said social distancing measures were observed during the recording process to mitigate any risk to the Queen and others.

It is only the fifth time during her 68-year reign that the queen has made a special broadcast, with the last one being in 2012 for her Diamond Jubilee. She also addressed the nation in 2002 following the death of the Queen Mother, ahead of Princess Diana's funeral in 1997 and during the Gulf War in 1991.

Normally she only delivers televised messages to the nation on Christmas Day.

The U.K. went on a three-week nationwide lockdown last month, banning social gatherings and ordering Britons to stay at home to stop the spread of the virus. Nearly all shops and business had to be closed with the government promising to help to those left out of work by the lockdown.

On Saturday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who remains in isolation after testing positive for the virus, commended “a huge effort” by the British public in delaying the spread of the virus. However, he warned Britons not to be tempted to break the regulations amid the warm weather this weekend.

The queen’s son and heir to the throne, Prince Charles, tested positive for the virus last month. He has since recovered and on Friday opened London's newest hospital, created in just nine days, to help the capital cope with the coronavirus outbreak.