As we predicted, the Queen’s speech on Sunday was all about unity, perseverance, and hope. In other words: keep calm, carry on, and continue social distancing.
‘An Increasingly Challenging Time’
The pre-recorded video began with a panoramic sweep of Windsor Castle, where the Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, have been self-isolating. From her gold-encrusted room, Elizabeth acknowledges that this is “an increasingly challenging time.”
As expected, she specifically thanked NHS employees and care workers. She also directly addressed the need for social distancing and self-isolation as a tactic to “tackling this disease.”
“If we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it,” the Queen said. She then pivots to consider how history will judge us, saying that she hopes “those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any.”
“The attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humored resolve, and of fellow-feeling still characterize this country,” the Queen said in her measured, received pronunciation accent.
A video montage of people applauding the NHS workers across the globe, as well as the adorable kids who have been drawing or painting rainbows to post in their windows, plays as the Queen continues her four-minute speech.
After urging people of all faiths to pray (or meditate), the Queen told a surprisingly personal anecdote of making a similar speech in 1940 from Windsor Castle when she was fourteen. She and Princess Margaret had been evacuated from London during the Blitz, and they spoke to other children who had been separated from their families.
“We will succeed–and that success will belong to every one of us,” the Queen concluded. “We will be with our friends again, we will be with our families again, we will meet again.”
Keeping Calm, Carrying On
You weren’t really expecting the Queen to scream or curse at her citizens like those viral videos of Italian politicians, right? Even as PM Boris Johnson was hospitalized for COVID-19 symptoms, the Queen remained calm to the point of being emotionless.
Despite being filmed by a lone cameraman dressed in protective gear, according to the BBC, Elizabeth maintained the stiff upper lip that has characterized her entire reign. Many felt moved by the Queen’s words despite her stoic delivery.
The queen wore a simple green sheath dress with her signature triple strand of pearls and a sensible watch. She added Queen Mary’s turquoise and diamond brooch to the ensemble. The brooch belonged to Elizabeth’s grandmother. Princess Victoria Mary of Teck got it as a wedding present in 1893. The brooch isn’t one of the Queen’s favorites; in fact, despite inheriting the piece in 1953, she didn’t wear it until 2014.
Watch the Speech for Yourself
You can watch the whole speech below, as shared on the official Royal Family Twitter account.
Her Majesty The Queen addresses the UK and the Commonwealth in a special broadcast recorded at Windsor Castle. pic.twitter.com/HjO1uiV1Tm
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) April 5, 2020