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Coronavirus: The Queen thanks NHS workers and promises ‘better days will return’ in rare televised address

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We will overcome the coronavirus if we “remain united and resolute”, the Queen has told the nation in a rare televised address

Her Majesty thanked workers “on the NHS frontline” and other key workers “who selflessly continue their day-to-day duties outside the home in support of us all”.

“I am sure the nation will join me in assuring you that what you do is appreciated and every hour of your hard work brings us closer to a return to more normal times,” she said in the speech, pre-recorded at Windsor Castle and broadcast at 8pm on Sunday.

She also thanked those who are staying at home to help prevent the spread of the virus.

“I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge,” she said.

“And those who come after us will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any.”

The speech aimed to strengthen the country’s resolve as it heads towards what could be the worst weeks of the coronavirus crisis.

Referencing wartime in her speech, she made calls for unity and togetherness, and drew on stories of communities helping one another.

Acknowledging that this was an “increasingly challenging time” for the nation as it is gripped by the Covid-19 outbreak, she promised: “If we remain united and resolute then we will overcome it.”

She added: “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.

“Across the Commonwealth and around the world, we have seen heart-warming stories of people coming together to help others, be it through delivering food parcels and medicines, checking on neighbours, or converting businesses to help the relief effort.”

She also acknowledged that self-isolation was a chance to reflect.

The Queen during her last visit to Cambridge, when she visited the Royal Papworth Hospital. Picture Keith Heppell
The Queen during her last visit to Cambridge, when she visited the Royal Papworth Hospital. Picture Keith Heppell

“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 said.

The Queen said she was reminded of the first speech she gave, with her sister Margaret.

“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.

“This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavour, using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal.”

The Queen spoke as the death toll in the UK rose 621 to 4,934, and it has been suggested that the peak of the outbreak is looming in the coming weeks.

Prince Charles has been among those to test positive for the virus, experiencing mild symptoms. He is now back in good health.

Ending on a positive note, and evoking both Winston Churchill and Dame Vera Lynn, Her Majesty predicted: "We will succeed - and that success will belong to every one of us.

“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.”

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