Reacting to the televised broadcast by the Queen yesterday, UK TV host Piers Morgan declared, “let me be brutally frank… the Queen did more to comfort the British people in five minutes last night than President Trump has done in over 50 hours of self-aggrandizing, contradictory, inaccurate, inflammatory, point-scoring addresses to the American people during this crisis.”
In an article in the Daily Mail Morgan wrote: “with our current Prime Minister sadly incapacitated, and a series of bumbling government ministers having the combined comforting effect of lying on a bed of rusty nails, all eyes turned last night to a 93-year-old woman sitting in a castle where she has been self-isolating with her 98-year-old husband. Queen Elizabeth II has reigned in the United Kingdom for a staggering 68 years.
During that entire time – the longest period served by a current ruler of any kind – she has barely put a regal foot wrong and on only four occasions has she felt compelled to address the nation outside of her annual Christmas speech: at the time of the first Gulf War in 1991, after the deaths of Princess Diana and then her mother in 1997 and 2002, and on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012.
But this was her most important address, one that came when every single person in Britain has been profoundly affected by a deadly virus that is destroying lives as fast as it is destroying jobs and economies. And in just five short minutes, Her Majesty gave the greatest speech of her life.It was eloquent, powerful, evocative, and perfectly pitched – thanking health workers for risking their lives to save ours, and the public for (largely) obeying government lockdown rules, but also urging all of us to dig deep into our individual reservoirs of stoic strength to get us collectively through this endurance test.
Then she got personal.
The Queen could have done this by saying that her own 71-year-old son and heir Prince Charles was infected by the virus, a worrying time for any mother given his age. But she didn’t. Instead, she reminded us of the time during WW2 when thousands of young children were evacuated from British cities into the countryside, separated from their parents for their own safety. She and her late sister Princess Margaret, themselves both very young at the time, recorded a radio message to those kids to offer them comfort, and hope. It was the first Queen’s first ever broadcast and was also taped at Windsor Castle, where she taped the latest one.
‘Today, once again,’ she said last night, ‘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.’The Queen ended with this rally-cry: ‘We should take comfort that while we 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.’
In her own uniquely influential way, the Queen made the British people feel better, lifted our spirits, and gave us hope for the future. ‘A magnificent speech from a magnificent lady,’ I tweeted as soon as the address finished. ‘Thank you, Your Majesty, this was your finest moment as our Monarch.’ Morgan in the past has been critical of the Royal family, especially some of the younger ones. He was particularly harsh in his criticism of Prince Harry and his wife for bailing out on the country.