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Buckingham Palace confirmed the reigning monarch, 93, is appearing in a televised broadcast Sunday night. It will be the first time Elizabeth has addressed the deadly disease on camera.
“Her Majesty The Queen has recorded a special broadcast to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in relation to the Coronavirus outbreak,” the palace said in a statement sent to Fox News on Friday. “The televised address will be broadcast at 8 p.m. [local time] on Sunday 5th April.”
The televised address is unique in that the queen has only conducted a handful of on-camera broadcasts outside her annual televised Christmas addresses throughout her 68-year reign. The queen has appeared on camera to address the death of Princess Diana, which came five days following the Aug. 31, 1997 tragedy, as well as in 1991 during the Gulf War and in 2002, after the Queen Mother died.
Princess Elizabeth makes her first broadcast, accompanied by her younger sister Princess Margaret Rose October 12, 1940, in London.
The on-air coronavirus message will follow a number of statements provided by the royal family about the importance of self-isolating as the pandemic continues to claim the lives of thousands across the globe.
“Normally on a situation like this she would have been visiting and offering comfort and support to many by meeting them head-on,” U.K.-based media correspondent Neil Sean told Fox News.
“It was recorded at Windsor Castle and has gone through the stringent guidance and approval from her Prime Minister Boris Johnson,” continued Sean. “We do know she hopes for a cure soon and will offer her prayers and guidance — I do know she is beyond sad at this situation. But as someone who has lived through World War II, she knows all about resilience and survival.”
Sean said viewers shouldn’t expect to see a “glittering royal room” in the broadcast. Instead, Elizabeth wants the focus to be on providing a sense of hope during troubling times.
In this undated photo, Queen Elizabeth II records her annual Christmas broadcast in Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England.
(Photo by Steve Parsons – WPA Pool/Getty Images)
“What the queen hopes to offer is simply this: strength and guidance to her subjects and, more importantly, that we all get through this together,” said Sean. “She will praise the health staff and her ministers and will pay particular attention to the elderly of whom she is one herself.”
“I hear that the broadcast was very emotional for her as she has not had to do anything like this in her reign,” Sean shared. “She has been particularly worried about her Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has picked up a slight strain of the virus and has personally called to check in on him. What she hopes the broadcast will achieve is that of unity and to follow the government’s message — stay home and save lives.”
Royal author Leslie Carroll also noted it is rare for Elizabeth to deliver a public address.
“The only times I can recall that she has done so is in the aftermath of a national tragedy,” she explained. “It was public outcry that compelled her to say something after Princess Diana died. Ordinarily, we’d expect [such a speech] during a time of war, for example. But many leaders from both the political and medical communities have made a comparison with the novel coronavirus. And people listen to and respect the Queen, who is supposed to be apolitical.”
Like Sean, Carroll suspects Elizabeth’s speech will be focused on uniting families during a time of crisis, especially one that hits close to home.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II leaves after attending the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London, Monday, March 9, 2020. The annual service, organized by the Royal Commonwealth Society, is the largest annual inter-faith gathering in the United Kingdom.
(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
“I would expect her to speak to the nation in a number of capacities knitted together: as the sovereign, grandmother in chief, and as a woman who has lived through much, during some of England’s darkest days,” Carroll explained. “She will address the COVID-19 pandemic and praise the first responders as heroes/heroines and she will remind her subjects that this virus does not discriminate. It does not see color or religion or class, and, hitting the personal note she always strikes as well, it has touched members of her own family.”
“She will admit that these are dark hours and trying times for everyone,” she continued. “And she will possibly close her remarks with an uplifting reminder to her subjects, which will have particular resonance for those who lived through the Blitz and the deprivations and sacrifice of World War II… [and] she will remind the people that they have always been able to ‘keep calm and carry on.’ Something along the lines of – ‘at times like these we find remarkable reserves of strength, resilience, and tenacity’ – reminding everyone that they indeed have always been able to “keep calm and carry on.’”
Last month, the queen’s eldest son, Prince Charles, 71, tested positive for COVID-19.
The Prince of Wales has since recovered after displaying “mild” symptoms, his office, the Clarence House, confirmed to Fox News last week.
In this Monday, March 9, 2020 file photo, Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall, in the background, leave after attending the annual Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in London, Monday, March 9, 2020. Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, has tested positive for the new coronavirus. The prince’s Clarence House office reported on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, that the 71-year-old is showing mild symptoms of COVID-19 and is self-isolating at a royal estate in Scotland.
(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
“Having recently gone through the process of contracting this coronavirus, luckily with relatively mild symptoms, I now find myself on the other side of the illness but still in no less a state of social distance and general isolation,” he said.
“As we are all learning, this is a strange, frustrating and often distressing experience when the presence of family and friends is no longer possible and the normal structures of life are suddenly removed,” Charles continued. “At such an unprecedented and anxious time in all our lives, my wife [Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall] and I are thinking particularly of all those who have lost their loved ones in such very difficult and abnormal circumstances, and of those having to endure sickness, isolation and loneliness.
“As a nation, we are faced by a profoundly challenging situation, which we are only too aware threatens the livelihoods, businesses and welfare of millions of our fellow citizens,” the Prince of Wales concluded. “None of us can say when this will end, but end it will. Until it does, let us try and live with hope and with faith in ourselves in each other. Look forward to better times to come.”
Fox News’ Melissa Roberto contributed to this report.