Queen Elizabeth is reportedly preparing to address the British people about the coronavirus pandemic. According to People, the U.K. monarch is currently preparing to make an unscheduled address, only the fourth during her 68-year reign. This will also be the first one in almost 20 years, the last happening in 2002, following the death of her mother.
A royal source told People that no date has been solidified for the address yet but that Queen Elizabeth will work based on the “advice of the government as to when it might best be deployed.”
The queen, who is currently 93, will likely have to give the speech after preparing with aides who are working remotely because of strict social distancing guidelines. The queen recently relocated from Buckingham Palace in London to Windsor Castle, roughly 30 miles away. Reports suggest that she and Prince Philip, who traveled with her, are both still in good health, and they are currently occupying the castle with minimal staff.
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☘️ Lá Fhéile Pádraig sona duit! . . Wishing our Irish followers a Happy St Patrick’s Day! . . In this photograph, The Queen is seen inspecting the @IrishGuards at Windsor Castle in 2009. Her Majesty is Colonel in Chief of the regiment. . . Head over to @KensingtonRoyal to find out more about the Irish Guards, including their current international deployments. . . Photo: Press Association . . #StPatricksDay
The queen is reportedly continuing to work from the castle, tending to paperwork and holding her weekly audience with Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Those meetings are likely taking place via video, as they did last week just before the queen left Buckingham Palace.
Elizabeth has canceled all her upcoming public events in response to the virus, and she has also announced that she will be based at Windsor Castle for the foreseeable future. In a statement released last Thursday, the queen addressed the fear and uncertainty that the coronavirus pandemic had caused.
“As Philip and I arrive at Windsor today, we know that many individuals and families across the United Kingdom, and around the world, are entering a period of great concern and uncertainty,” she wrote in a statement.
She said that she was sure the British people were up to the challenge posed by the virus and concluded by promising that the royal family would be there to help as much as possible.
“You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part,” the queen said.
The news of the queen’s address comes just a day after Boris Johnson announced a total, government-mandated lockdown in the U.K. In a statement from Downing Street last night, the prime minister addressed the British people, saying that they must stay inside and would be fined for traveling outside. In the address, Johnson laid out the stakes of the crisis for the people of the U.K., and said that the measures would be reevaluated in three weeks.