The Queen is planning to make a royal address to the United Kingdom about the coronavirus pandemic.
As The Telegraph reports, Elizabeth II will speak to the nation in a televised speech that will take place “in the coming weeks” as the COVID-19 pandemic escalates in London, where the virus has so far infected 1,580 people and resulted in 69 deaths.
This will mark only the fourth time the monarch has given such a speech, following similar speeches in 2002 (to discuss the death of the Queen Mother), in 1997 to address the death of Princess Diana, and in 1991 to speak about the Gulf War.
According to The Telegraph, news of the Queen’s upcoming address comes after she and Prince Philip left London for Windsor Castle a week ahead of schedule, which was deemed a “sensible precaution” given the severity of the outbreak in the British capital.
Meanwhile, Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla have gone to Scotland, and are expected to stay at Birkhall, his home on the Queen’s Balmoral estate “for the foreseeable future.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with children George, Charlotte and Louis, will be spending the next few weeks at Anmer Hal in Norfolk, but could return to London after the Easter holiday.
In response to a question about the Queen’s upcoming address, a palace source told The Telegraph: “It is a question of when, not if. The value of an address by the Queen is that it is so rare — it’s a case of when is the optimum time to do it. The Queen wants to get it right.”
According to the source, the Queen understands the nation wants to hear from her as “head of the nation” during this time of crisis, and Buckingham Palace is currently discussing timing of the address with the British government.
The source adds the Queen is “learning to use FaceTime and Skype” in order “to receive government briefings and updates from medical experts on her iPad,” and she’ll be using her new tech savvy “to make her debut in video conferences with members of the emergency services, volunteers and charities working on the front line of the pandemic.”
A royal aide added: “Nothing will be ruled out to ensure Her Majesty is able to keep in touch and offer thanks and reassurance to everyone she needs to.”
On Saturday night, reports emerged that a royal aide at Buckingham Palace had tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh left for Windsor.