Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The Crown and Corona


For those who have not heard, read or seen Her Maj’s speech to the nation, indeed to the world, I have reprinted it below. 

This fine woman will be 94 on 21 April and has been 68 years on the throne. 

Only 3 monarchs have reigned longer: 
Louis XIV of France, 72 years (1643-1715) 
Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) of Thailand, 70 years (1946 – 2016) 
Johann II of Liechtenstein, 70 years (1858-19290 

She has lived through WW2, the GFC and the COVID-19 pandemic, all the time fulfilling the promise she made in a speech on her 21st birthday: “I declare that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.” 

Her Maj’s speech refers to her 1940 broadcast to the nation and finishes on a Vera Lynn WW2 symbol, saying that we will meet again.

By the way, Vera Lynn, the Forces' Sweetheart as she was known, is still with us and turned 103 on 20 March 2020. In 2009, at the age of 92, she became the oldest living artist to top the UK Albums Chart, with compilation album We'll Meet Again: The Very Best of Vera Lynn.  Lynn also scored a number one in 2014, when she was 97, with the collection Vera Lynn: National Treasure, and remains the oldest person to top the album charts. Further, she released the compilation album of hits Vera Lynn 100 in 2017, to commemorate her centennial year, and it was a number-3 hit, making her the first centenarian performer to have an album in the charts.

Vera Lynn, WW2

Princess Elizabeth, WW2

I am an avowed republican but I will be the first to raise my hand in admiration and respect for Her Maj, the speech being worthy of reading in these new dark days . . . 

I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time. A time of disruption in the life of our country: a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all. 

I want to thank everyone on the NHS front line, as well as care workers and those carrying out essential roles, who selflessly continue their day-to-day duties outside the home in support of us all. I am sure the nation will join me in assuring you that what you do is appreciated and every hour of your hard work brings us closer to a return to more normal times. 

I also want to thank those of you who are staying at home, thereby helping to protect the vulnerable and sparing many families the pain already felt by those who have lost loved ones. Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it. 

I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any. That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humoured resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterise this country. The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future. 

The moments when the United Kingdom has come together to applaud its care and essential workers will be remembered as an expression of our national spirit; and its symbol will be the rainbows drawn by children. 

Across the Commonwealth and around the world, we have seen heart-warming stories of people coming together to help others, be it through delivering food parcels and medicines, checking on neighbours, or converting businesses to help the relief effort. 

And though self-isolating may at times be hard, 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 painful sense of separation from their loved ones. 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 endeavour, 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. 

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.


Following her speech, Her Majesty addressed Australians in a separate message delivered by Governor-General David Hurley:


Yays for the Day for Her Maj and Vera Lynn.

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