Queen reflects on the comfort of prayer in coronavirus address to the nation

(Photo: BBC)

The Queen reflected on the place of prayer as a source of comfort during an address to the nation on the coronavirus pandemic.

"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," she said.

"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." 

In a speech that invoked the spirit of the Blitz, she reflected on her first ever public broadcast in 1940 to the evacuated children of World War II as she said that separating from each other at this time, although "painful", is "the right thing to do". 

She thanked NHS and other frontline workers for "selflessly" carrying out their duties, and "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". 

"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," she said. 

She continued: "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 Queen went on to speak warmly of the #ClapforCarers campaign thanking the NHS and other "heart-warming" stories of people look after their neighbours and be part of the relief effort. 

"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." she said. 

She ended on a confident note, telling the nation that "better days will return". 

"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," she said. 

"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."