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The Queen reassures nation that 'better days will return' during TV broadcast on coronavirus crisis

It marked the fifth public address in Her Majesty's 68-year reign 

Danielle Stacey

The Queen showed her support for the nation amid the coronavirus pandemic, during a televised address on Sunday. The 93-year-old monarch, speaking in a pre-recorded broadcast from Windsor Castle, spoke of the difficulties of self-isolation but reassured the country, saying: "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."

READ: 11 times the royals had reason to applaud: from a surprise proposal to Clap for our Carers

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WATCH: The Queen addresses the UK and the Commonwealth in TV broadcast

Her Majesty paid tribute to the NHS and those "selflessly" working on the frontline during the crisis, saying: "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."

The monarch, wearing a green dress with a turquoise and diamond brooch, reflected on previous crises faced by the nation, including World War II. Then Princess Elizabeth, she was 13 when war was declared and she lived at Windsor Castle with her younger sister, Princess Margaret. She said, during her address: "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."

Her Majesty has been residing at the Berkshire palace since 19 March, starting her Easter break a week earlier than planned as a "sensible precaution". The Duke of Edinburgh, 98, joined his wife in Windsor on the same day and was flown there by helicopter from Wood Farm in Sandringham, Norfolk. It's been business as usual for the monarch, who has still been receiving her daily red boxes from the government and conducting her weekly audiences with Prime Minister Boris Johnson by phone.

MORE: 4 times the Queen has addressed the nation during crises - watch videos

The Queen'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.  

MORE: The Queen makes incredible gesture to NHS staff amid coronavirus pandemic

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Elizabeth and Margaret during their radio broadcast in 1940

"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."

Support for the NHS

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Windsor Castle lit up in blue on Thursday

The Queen has also supported the Clap for our Carers campaign, with a video shared on social media of royal household staff clapping and cheering at Windsor Castle on 26 March. The Berkshire palace was also lit up in blue to pay tribute to the emergency services on Thursday. 

This is only the fifth time the monarch has recorded a televised message to the nation other than at Christmas. Her previous addresses came during the first Gulf War in 1991, and following the deaths of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997 and the Queen Mother in 2002. She also recorded a televised message to mark her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

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