THE Queen has only made a special address to the nation four times before tonight’s coronavirus speech.
Her reassuring message of hope on the coronavirus crisis is one of a handful of occasions – apart from her annual Christmas broadcast – when she has spoken directly to her subjects.
The Queen’s televised address to the nation amid the coronavirus pandemic is only the fourth of her 68-year-reign during times of national crisis and grief.
While she broadcasts a recorded message each year on Christmas Day, special addresses from the monarch in troubled periods are rare.
There have been three previous speeches broadcast – after the Queen Mother’s death in 2002, ahead of Diana, Princess of Wales’s funeral in 1997 and about the First Gulf War in 1991.
Amid celebratory times, the Queen made a televised address to mark her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
Her latest speech reflects that the nation “may have more still to endure”, but also shows optimism with the words “we will overcome it”.
Her Majesty evoked wartime memories yesterday, telling Brits: “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.”
She spoke of her first ever address with her sister, Princess Margaret when they gave out a message of hope to evacuees separated from their families in an unprecedented time of war.
Queen Elizabeth reminded Brits that while separation and self-isolation may not always be easy, “now, such as then, we know deep down that it is the right thing to do.”
Here we take a look back at the four historic addresses the Queen made during strange, tragic, unprecedented and jollier times:
Queen’s address on the Gulf War, February 1991
Speaking to the nation at the outbreak of the war in Iraq, the Queen told how she hoped the nation would pray for “swift” success.
She spoke of Britain’s pride in their armed forces, adding: “May the true reward of their courage be granted, a just and lasting peace.”
Queen’s address after the death of Princess Diana, September 1997
In the late nineties the Queen took to the airwaves to share the tragic news of her former daughter-in-law’s death.
A sea of flowers was left at the gates of Diana’s London home, Kensington Palace, by shocked members of the public, but the flag pole at Buckingham Palace remained bare, as was the protocol, because the Queen was away in Scotland.
A rare palace statement was released telling of the royal family’s hurt at suggestions they were untouched by the tragedy.
The Queen had been due to pre-record her message, but in an unprecedented move for a royal broadcast of this kind, it was decided she should deliver it live.
She spoke after returning from Balmoral where she had been with William and Harry.
She said she was speaking “from the heart” as “your Queen and as a grandmother” and called Diana and “exceptional” human being.
She described the much-loved Princess’s funeral as an opportunity to “show to the whole world the British nation united in grief and respect”.
Queen’s address after the death of the Queen Mother, April 2002
Back in April 2002 the Queen addressed the nation following the death of her “beloved mother,” who died aged 101.
Eighteen years ago on the eve of her mother’s funeral, the Queen thanked the country for their support and the “love and honour” shown to the Queen Mother.
Dressed in black, the Queen added: “I count myself fortunate that my mother was blessed with a long and happy life.
“She had an infectious zest for living, and this remained with her until the very end.”
She described her mum’s lifetime as: “A century for this country and the Commonwealth, not without its trials and sorrow, but also one of extraordinary progress, full of examples of courage and service, as well as fun and laughter”.
Queen’s Diamond Jubilee message, June 2012
On the 60th anniversary of her succession to the throne, the Queen thanked the nation for their hand in the celebrations.
She said she was “deeply touched” by Brit’s celebrations.
She told the UK she hopes the memories of parties held in her honor will “brighten lives for many years to come”.