Queen Elizabeth II moved many to tears as she evoked the war effort in rousing coronavirus address

 newsweek.com  04/06/2020 08:57:57   Jack Royston

Queen Elizabeth II's landmark coronavirus speech brought many in Britain to tearsand moved a lifelong critic to declare her among the "most remarkable people alive."

She evoked the country's World War II spirit when she praised those selfisolating, and promised "we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again."

The final line, "We'll Meet Again," is from a 1939 song by Vera Lynn that came to define the way the war wrenched families apart with no guarantee of survival.

Her message was broadcast at 8pm, just an hour before the country was told Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been admitted to hospital after ten days of battling coronavirus.

Dickie Arbiter, the Queen's former press secretary, told the BBC: "Interestingly I've had a couple of messages since the broadcast finished with people saying it brought a tear to their eye.

"The Queen's been through everything. This is something she would never have expected at any time in her reign. But she is a rallying person."

The praise extended beyond royalists, as Tony Blair's former spokesman Alastair Campbell was moved to contradict his lifelong opposition to the royal family.

He said on Twitter: "Can't quite believe I've written thisand for @Telegraph [a right-wing British newspaper.]

"The Queen is one of (if not the) most remarkable people alive!

"Sad my Monarchist Mum, also Elizabeth, also born April 1926, not hear to see her lifelong Republican son say so!"

Can’t quite believe I’ve written this - and for @Telegraph But it’s true- the Queen is one of (if not the) most remarkable people alive! Sad my Monarchist Mum, also Elizabeth, also born April 1926, not hear to see her lifelong Republican son say so! https://t.co/WnH0gb9MZT

— ALASTAIR CAMPBELL (@campbellclaret) April 5, 2020

And Good Will Hunting star Minnie Driver, 50, said she was moved by the speech, before criticizing how President Donald Trump was handling the crisis.

The English actress told her 210,000 Twitter followers: "#QueensSpeech felt incredibly moving this morning here in LA.

"The thanks she gave and unity she spoke of only highlighted the absolute dereliction of leadership here in America. #COVID19."

#QueensSpeech felt incredibly moving this morning here in LA. The thanks she gave and unity she spoke of only highlighted the absolute dereliction of leadership here in America. #COVID19

— Minnie Driver (@driverminnie) April 5, 2020

Elizabeth, 93, said: "While we have faced challenges before, this one is different.

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

"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."

Prince Charles coronavirus queen elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth II and her son, Prince Charles, attending the annual Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey in London on March 9, 2020. Palace officials have said it is unlikely Charles was contagious when he last met The Queen. Getty Images

Arbiter said: "(The speech) was extremely important, it was very moving, the Queen's fingerprints are on it.

"It's certainly her speech, maybe a bit of input from Prince Philip, but it was very much her.

"It was interesting, quite obviously she thanked the National Health Service, the carers, everyone involved, those outside.

"But she also thanked those people who were staying at home. This was a very clear message to those that don't. Please stay home. It was very moving."

Praise also rippled through the political classes as Sir Keir Starmer, newly elected leader of the opposition Labour Party, said: "The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future.

"The Queen speaks for the whole country and our determination to defeat the coronavirus."

“The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future.”

The Queen speaks for the whole country and our determination to defeat the coronavirus. #QueensSpeech

— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) April 5, 2020

Health secretary Matt Hancock, himself just recently recovered from COVID-19, said: "A striking and important message from Her Majesty the Queen on coming together and standing with all nations to tackle #coronavirus.

"Such strength to draw ona vital reminder that we will succeed and better days will return."

A striking and important message from Her Majesty the Queen on coming together and standing with all nations to tackle #coronavirus. Such strength to draw on - a vital reminder that we will succeed and better days will return.

— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) April 5, 2020

Elizabeth also praised British people who have been leaning out of windows or standing on doorsteps at 8pm on each of the last two Thursday's to clap in support of the NHS.

She said: "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.

Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth II prepares to greet Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev at Buckingham Palace on November 4, 2015 in London, England. Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty

"The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future.

"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."

Many on Twitter, from individuals to official organizations, said they were reduced to tears by the queen's remarks.

Even West Mercia Police, in the north of England, posted on Twitter: "'United and resolute...we will meet again!'

"Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II addressing the nation tonight. Bringing a tear to many an eye..."

Queen Elizabeth II's speech in full:

I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time. A time of disruption in the life of our country: a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all.

I want to thank everyone on the NHS front line, as well as care workers and those carrying out essential roles, 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.

I also want to thank those of you who are staying at home, thereby helping to protect the vulnerable and sparing many families the pain already felt by those who have lost loved ones.

Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it.

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-humoured resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterise this country.

The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future.

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.

And 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.

It reminds me of the very first broadcast I made, in 1940, helped by my sister.

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.

While we have faced challenges before, this one is different.

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.

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.

But for now, I send my thanks and warmest good wishes to you all.

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