In a rare televised speech from Windsor Castle, Queen Elizabeth II urged citizens of the U.K. to "remain united and resolute" in the face of the challenges resulting from the coronavirus crisis.
Speaking to a nation under lockdown, the queen addressed the nation for just the fifth time outside her usual annual Christmas Day speech. The four other times she has made an extraordinary address have been to mark the Gulf War, the death of Princess Diana of Wales, the death of her mother, and her Diamond Jubilee.
The queen shared a personal memory of her first broadcast in 1940, saying: "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 Queen also paid tribute to Britain’s National Health Service, at the forefront in the fight against the virus.
She added, "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-humored resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterize this country. The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future."
The broadcast Sunday was recorded in a room that met requirements of being large enough to allow sufficient distance between the queen and the only other person in the room at the time -- a cameraman in personal protected equipment.
All other technical staff were in another room connected by speakers.
The speech came at the end of a weekend that saw many people across the country violating government requests to stay at home, despite the sunny weather.
Parks and squares across London and other major cities saw hundreds of people gathering to take advantage of the weather.
The British government has predicted the peak of the coronavirus crisis to hit around Easter Sunday, and this week repeatedly urged citizens to stay indoors.
What to know about coronavirus:
- How it started and how to protect yourself: Coronavirus explained
- What to do if you have symptoms: Coronavirus symptoms
- Tracking the spread in the U.S. and worldwide: Coronavirus map
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip have remained in Windsor Castle in recent weeks after her son Prince Charles was confirmed positive for COVID-19, and self-isolated at his home at Birkhall in Scotland.
His wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, tested negative.