The Queen has publicly sent a message of support to the nation amid the coronavirus pandemic. Buckingham Palace released a statement from the 93-year-old monarch on Thursday evening saying: "As Philip and I arrive at Windsor today, we know that many individuals and families across the United Kingdom, and around the world, are entering a period of great concern and uncertainty. We are all being advised to change our normal routines and regular patterns of life for the greater good of the communities we live in and, in particular, to protect the most vulnerable within them."
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Her Majesty added: "At times such as these, I am reminded that our nation's history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one, concentrating our combined efforts with a focus on the common goal.
"We are enormously thankful for the expertise and commitment of our scientists, medical practitioners and emergency and public services; but now more than any time in our recent past, we all have a vitally important part to play as individuals - today and in the coming days, weeks and months.
"Many of us will need to find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe. I am certain we are up to that challenge. You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part."
MORE: King Felipe of Spain urges nation to stay strong and expresses sympathy during coronavirus crisis
The Queen pictured on her way to Windsor on Thursday
It comes after Her Majesty left her London residence to begin her Easter break at Windsor Castle a week earlier than expected as a "sensible precaution." She was joined by her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, who was flown to the Berkshire palace by helicopter from Wood Farm in Sandringham, Norfolk.
Several events in the Queen's diary have been cancelled following the coronavirus outbreak, including the royal garden parties in May, the Maundy Service on 9 April and the Japan state visit. Buckingham Palace said in a statement on Wednesday that Her Majesty is likely to remain at the castle beyond the Easter period.
The head of state carried out a brief audience with military officers at Buckingham Palace, but there were no handshakes – just head bows. The Queen also conducted her weekly audience with the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, via telephone rather than in person.
The Queen's granddaughter, Princess Beatrice, has also had her wedding plans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic – the reception will no longer be held at Buckingham Palace gardens. The Duke of York's eldest daughter is set to marry property developer Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi at the Royal Chapel in St James's Palace, London, on Friday 29 May. The palace says the couple are currently reviewing their arrangements and "will carefully consider government advice before deciding whether a private marriage might take place amongst a small group of family and friends."
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