Queen Elizabeth II’s televised broadcast on Sunday night addressing the devastating coronavirus pandemic is exactly the message the people of the United Kingdom needed to hear now more than ever, one expert noted.
James O’Rourke, a University of Notre Dame professor who has specialized in research on crisis communication, told Fox News the reigning monarch’s comforting words shared during the COVID-19 crisis were “spot-on.”
“Without surprise, she did precisely what I thought she would,” O’Rourke explained. “The Queen provides a far more rational, calming voice than her Prime Minister Boris Johnson; her Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove; or any of the other Torys in her government whose sole focus of late has been telling the rest of Europe to go away. She is, without question, a remarkable woman who has served her people well.”
O’Rourke also noted that it’s not just those in the U.K. who should take comfort in the 93-year-old’s message during the pandemic.
“I see two reasons for Britons and the world to take note of Queen Elizabeth’s remarks this evening,” he said. “First, she’s remarkably thoughtful, careful in her selection of words, judicious in tone and well aware that many around the world are listening. The second reason is quite simple: her voice offers a calm, rational, and inspirational message unmotivated by ideology, political interest or self-dealing. Few, if any, leaders in first-world nations today can offer all that she has.”
The reigning British monarch acknowledged the suffering that many families have endured because of the COVID-19 crisis, which has infected over 42,000 people in the U.K. and killed at least 4,313, of them, according to researchers.
Elizabeth has given yearly Christmas messages but has delivered an address like this only on three previous occasions. She delivered a speech at the time of the first Gulf War in 1991, before the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997 and after the Queen Mother’s death in 2002.
In her speech, the royal honored Britain’s beloved National Health Service and others in essential services, together with around 75,000 people who volunteered to help the vulnerable.
“I hope in the years to come, everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge,” Elizabeth said during her address. “Those who come after us will say that 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 address was recorded in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle. The location was specifically chosen because it provided enough room between Elizabeth and the camera person, who wore personal protective equipment.
Both the monarch and her husband Prince Philip, 98, are among those over 70 whom the British government has advised to stay home for 12 weeks.
Elizabeth noted that self-isolating could be challenging for people trying to make sense of the pandemic. However, she asserted that their efforts to flatten the curve were being recognized and honored.
“Self-isolating may at times be hard,” she admitted. “[But,] 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 sense of separation from their loved ones,” Elizabeth added. “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,” she concluded. “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.”
Sunday’s broadcast served as the first time the Queen has addressed the coronavirus on camera.
The crisis hit close to home for the monarch. Her son and heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, had a mild case of the virus. The Prince of Wales, 71, has since recovered, his office, Clarence House, confirmed to Fox News last week.
A week after his diagnosis, Charles was still practicing social distancing and virtually opened a new hospital dedicated to serving coronavirus patients. It was the first time a member of the royal family has ever virtually opened a building.
Workers had converted a convention hall into the NHS Nightingale Hospital in London, with the capacity for 4,000 beds, in less than two weeks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.