Queen Elizabeth’s speech: ‘Britons of this generation were as strong as any’

Two major things happened in British politics yesterday, one right after the other. Chronologically, the Queen gave her big televised (pre-recorded) speech about the coronavirus lockdown. Immediately afterwards, the papers announced that Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been admitted to the hospital for Covid-19. BoJo tested positive for the virus 10 days ago, and he had been self-isolating at home. Sources now say that government ministers and various staffers had been downplaying Johnson’s symptoms publicly to avoid alarming the public. He was there overnight. If he needs to stay longer or if his symptoms persist or get worse, foreign secretary Dominic Raab will “take charge.”

As for the Queen’s speech, we’ve been hearing for a few weeks that she would give a speech about the coronavirus at some point, but I feel like the palace (and perhaps 10 Downing Street, who advised her) waited way too long for it? Much like they waited too long to move the Queen to Windsor Castle – she was still doing events at Buckingham Palace and shaking hands on March 18th! Anyway, she said all the right things and struck the right tone:

It was fine. I didn’t really understand why British peeps were, like, weeping with gratitude and falling all over themselves to declare it the Queen’s most moving speech. I realize I have no room to speak as an American – Trump’s corona briefings are an exercise in buffoonery and lies. But it does feel like the Queen is being applauded for merely showing up and striking the right tone. This was maybe my favorite line:

“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 that 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.”

[From The Guardian]

This is the characterization that British people tell themselves about themselves, much like Americans tell themselves that we are a friendly, generous, warm, and neighborly country. British people tell themselves that their national characteristics are self-discipline, quiet dignity, a good sense of history and good humor. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Queen’s poll numbers go up.

Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red.

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