Queen Elizabeth to Discuss Coronavirus in Televised Address

The coronavirus address will mark the Queen's fourth special address in her 68-year reign.

Queen Elizabeth II is expected to give a special televised address on the escalating coronavirus pandemic that has swept through the U.K. in "the coming weeks," a royal insider told me. "Downing Street has been in touch with Her Majesty and it was agreed that the Queen could offer some calm and comfort to the nation at this difficult time," my source said.

The Sun has reported that the Queen is waiting for "the right moment" to address the coronavirus crisis. It will only be the fourth time in the Queen's 68-year reign that she has given a special address.

"This is an unprecedented event," said my source. "Aside from her annual televised Christmas message, the Queen has not done this kind of address, but these are extraordinary circumstances. Her Majesty is deeply concerned for the nation."

The Queen, who turns 94 next week, last gave a special address in 2002 on the eve of her mother's funeral. Prior to that, in 1997, she spoke to the nation in a live televised address from Buckingham Palace the day before Princess Diana's funeral. In 1991, the Gulf War was the subject of her address.

Buckingham Palace released a statement from the Queen on Mar. 19, which read, in part:

We know that many individuals and families across the United Kingdom, and around the world, are entering a period of great concern and uncertainty. At times such as these, I am reminded that our nation's history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one, concentrating our combined efforts with a focus on the common goal.

The Queen also encouraged citizens of the U.K. to be willing to change their everyday routines for "the greater good of the communities we live in and, in particular, to protect the most vulnerable within them."

The Queen has postponed several engagements, but will continue to remain in contact with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Last week, she left London for Windsor Castle where she was joined by Prince Philip for her Easter holiday earlier than planned due to reports of an unnamed staffer testing positive for COVID-19. According to my source, Her Majesty's address on the virus will be taped at the Castle.

Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.

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