Queen Elizabeth ll addressed the United Kingdom and Commonwealth citizens, from Windsor Castle, Windsor, England, on April 5, 2020. The speech centered on the coronavirus known as COVID-19. Here is my analysis of the queen’s speech:
Queen Elizabeth II: “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 frontline, 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’m 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 families the pain already felt by those who have lost loved ones.”
Her Majesty’s opening statement shows empathy and understanding of the hardships caused by the dreadful virus and the negative impact on everyone. She voices appreciation and praise for individuals who place themselves on the frontlines of health care to treat and protect others. The opening captures attention and holds the audience throughout, to her concluding statement.
“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-humored resolve, and of fellow feeling still characterize this country. The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future.”
The queen comes across sturdy and unwavering here. She reminds Britons and Commonwealth members of who they are and urges strength in the face of adversity. An exemplary and sincere leader speaks in these terms.
“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 heartwarming stories of people coming together to help others, be it through delivering food parcels and medicines, checking on neighbors, 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.”
The sovereign drives home the theme of unity and collective effort. She assures that there will be an end to the disease spreading. The speech continues to flow smoothly, logically, and with clarity.
“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 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. But for now, I send my thanks and warmest good wishes to you all.”
The conclusion begins with a story. Queen Elizabeth II brings her 1940 speech to 2020. It’s a reminder of the ravages of war: being apart from loved ones, uncertainty, yet hopeful. We are in a similar situation today with the coronavirus pandemic. The speech close is effective and profoundly meaningful. We relate to her in 1940, as we do now. We will be with our friends again is the third and final part of a triumphant trilogy phrase that inspires and stimulates hearts and minds.
The monarch’s 6 minutes and 55 seconds pandemic address hit on all cylinders. It wasn’t long or too short and ran like a well-oiled machine. I predict that this speech will set the tone, the spirit, and serve as an exceptional example of verbal crisis communication for generations to come.