The Queen addressed the U.K. and the Commonwealth, including Canada, to thank health care workers during “an increasingly challenging time.”
Queen Elizabeth’s video was filmed at Windsor Castle, and was released to The Royal Family’s social media channels on Sunday (April 5).
She thanked those working in health care and other essential jobs, telling them that “what you do is appreciated and every hour of your hard work brings us closer to a return to normal times.”
The outlook remained bleak in Britain, which recorded 708 new coronavirus deaths Saturday compared with Italy’s 631 deaths. With 600-plus more deaths reported Sunday, Britain has recorded more than 4,900 virus deaths overall among nearly 48,000 cases. Those coming down with the virus in the U.K. include Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the health secretary, England’s chief medical official and Prince Charles, the Queen’s son and heir to the throne.
The Queen has addressed the Commonwealth every Christmas Day since she ascended to the throne in 1952, but it’s only the fifth time in her 68-year reign that she has spoken specifically to rally Britons.
She also addressed Great Britain at the beginning of the first Gulf War in February 1991, on the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in September 1997 on the death of the Queen Mother in April 2002, and in June 2012 to celebrate her own Diamond Jubilee.
Queen Elizabeth, 93, said addressing the Commonwealth on Sunday reminded her of her and her sister’s first message to the people during World War II.
“We, as children, spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and set 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.”
The Queen ended the address on a hopeful note.
“We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return.”
– With files from the Associated Press, The Canadian Press