By Bryn Davies
With the threat of Coronavirus growing, the panic increasing and the loo roll running out, one voice has been very quiet during this pandemic. Her majesty Queen Elizabeth II, safely tucked away, is yet to voice her concerns and advice regarding the illness. However, that is set to change this Sunday with a televised speech aimed at uniting the British public.
Read below to find out more about the history of the televised speech!
On Sunday 5th April 2020, Queen Elizabeth II will (for just the fourth time in her 66 year reign) use that most powerful of weapons hidden under her illustrious royal crown; the televised address. These short speeches are designed to encourage unity, patriotism and comfort during times of national importance.
The first of these addresses came in 1991, close to 40 years into her reign. The speech, just forty seconds in length, acknowledged the efforts of the armed forces, who were at that time fighting Saddam Hussain’s Iraqi forces during the First Gulf War. Unlike the subsequent war in the gulf 12 years later, this one was pretty justified. Iraq had invaded Kuwait because it claimed to received just $9billion of a $10billion compensation package over oil. Two days later, the small gulf nation of Kuwait had fallen to Iraq’s one million strong army. This triggered an alliance of 35 nations to join the fight against and ultimately defeat Saddam Hussain.
“I hope that we can unite in praying that their success will be as swift as it is certain.”
The second address in 1997 was a mixture of the usual unity, patriotism and comfort but this time with added self preservation. Talking against a backdrop of Victoria memorial teeming with mourners, the Queen tried desperately to repair the damage done to her own reputation and that of the monarchy as a whole. In the days following Diana’s death, the Queen chose to stay at Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire with her two grandsons, both of which had lost their mother. As the outpouring of grief increased exponentially around the globe, the silence from Balmoral was fast becoming deafening. The papers and the public soon turned against the monarch’s (lack of) response and, saving herself from a French guillotine-style revolution, she took to the camera to help salvage her reputation.
“So what I say to you now, as your Queen and as a grand-mother, I say from my heart… I want to pay tribute to Diana myself.”
Just five years later, The Queen again found herself addressing the nation following the death of a family member. In 2002, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother died at the age of 101. Born during the reign of Queen Victoria, she was a young adult when the Titanic sank, lived through two World Wars, married a Prince who should never have been King and gave birth to a daughter who would live to be the longest reigning monarch in British history. Despite all this, her crowning achievement is undoubtedly being mother to the ultimate party Princess, Margaret Countess of Snowdon. Not a bad innings.
“I hope that sadness will blend with a greater sense of thanksgiving, not just for her life, but for the times in which she lived. A century for this country and the Commonwealth, not without its trials sorrows but also one of extraordinary progress, full of examples of courage and service as well as fun and laughter.”
Long live this dated, elitist, undemocratic form of British quirkiness envied the world over.