Britain’s Queen Elizabeth celebrated on Sunday the sense of Commonwealth unity fostered by “a time like no other,” just hours before a U.S. interview with her grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan that could deepen divisions in the royal family.
In a speech to mark Commonwealth Day, dedicated to the countries mainly from the former British empire that maintain links with Britain, the Queen welcomed the “deeper appreciation of the mutual support and spiritual sustenance we enjoy being connected to others” during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Over the coming week, as we celebrate the friendship, spirit of unity and achievements of the Commonwealth, we have an opportunity to reflect on a time like no other. Whilst experiences of the last year have been different across the Commonwealth, stirring samples of courage, commitment and selfless dedication to duty have been demonstrated in every Commonwealth nation and territory, notably by those working on the front line, who have been delivering health care and other public services in their communities,” said the Queen in her televised message.
“We have also taken encouragement from remarkable advances in developing new vaccines and treatments. The testing times experienced by so many have led to a deeper appreciation of the mutual support and spiritual sustenance we enjoy by being connected to others. The need to maintain greater physical distance or to live and work largely in isolation has, for many people across the Commonwealth, been an unusual experience,” the Queen continued.
🌍 In this year’s #CommonwealthDay message The Queen
pays tribute to the way in which communities across the family of nations have come together in response to the pandemic. pic.twitter.com/rOoUMJLlKg
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) March 7, 2021
“In our everyday lives, we have had to become more accustomed to connecting and communicating via innovative technology, which has been new to some of us with conversations and communal gatherings, including Commonwealth meetings, conducted online, enabling people to stay in touch with friends, family, colleagues and counterparts who they have not been able to meet in person. Increasingly, we have found ourselves able to enjoy such communication as it offers an immediacy that transcends boundaries or division, helping any sense of distance to disappear. We have all continued to appreciate the support, breadth of experiences and knowledge that working together brings, and I hope we shall maintain this renewed sense of closeness and community,” she added.
“Looking forward, relationships with others across the Commonwealth will remain important as we strive to deliver a common future that is sustainable and more secure so that the nations and neighbourhoods in which we live, wherever they are located, become healthier and happier places for us all,” the message concluded.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also shared messages while appearing in a Commonwealth Day broadcast.
In a snippet shared to the Kensington Palace Instagram account, Prince William and Kate Middleton spoke with a frontline healthcare worker based in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“This #CommonwealthDay The Duke and Duchess spoke with medical, charity and voluntary staff from across the Commonwealth to hear more about the work they have been carrying out to care for those within their communities,” read the caption.
Meanwhile, Prince Charles praised Commonwealth citizens for their bravery during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Amidst such heart-breaking suffering, however, the extraordinary determination, courage and creativity with which people have responded has been an inspiration to us all,” he said while speaking at Westminster Abbey.
The messages air hours before CBS broadcasts the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s highly anticipated tell-all, their first in-depth interview since they moved to the United States.
Oprah Winfrey’s scoop will see Harry and Meghan explain why they abandoned Britain to start new lives in California when “CBS Presents Oprah With Meghan And Harry” airs Sunday, March 7 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Global.