Queen praises people's courage amid coronavirus pandemic

World Saturday 26/December/2020 09:23 AM
By: DW
Queen praises people's courage amid coronavirus pandemic

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has praised people in the UK and around the world for "rising magnificently to the challenges" of a year marked by the pandemic, saying she had been "moved by this quiet, indomitable spirit."

"Remarkably, a year that has necessarily kept people apart has in many ways brought us closer," the queen said in her yearly Christmas Day address, a tradition that began in 1932 with a broadcast by her grandfather, King George V.

The queen also expressed deep sympathy with those who had lost loved ones and those who were left alone at Christmas because of pandemic restrictions.

"Of course, for many, this time of year will be tinged with sadness: some mourning the loss of those dear to them, and others missing friends and family members distanced for safety when all they really want for Christmas is a simple hug or a squeeze of the hand," Elizabeth said. "If you are among them, you are not alone. And let me assure your of my thoughts and prayers."

The queen also voiced praise and gratitude for medical workers in the pandemic.

"Today, our frontline services still shine that lamp for us — supported by the amazing achievements of modern science — and we owe them a debt of gratitude," she said.

Royal restrictions

The 94-year-old queen herself is not taking part in her traditional Christmas celebrations at the Sandringham estate in eastern England this year because of the pandemic. She has been spending the holiday period at Windsor Castle, near London, together with her husband, Prince Philip, 99.

Her own son, Charles, also contracted the virus earlier this year but displayed only mild symptoms.

Although the speech focused on the effects of the current pandemic, the queen did not use the words "pandemic", "coronavirus" or "COVID-19" in her speech.

Annus horribilis

Even apart from the pandemic, the year has been a difficult one in several ways for the British royal family

Among other things, her grandson Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, stepped back from their role as senior royals to become financially independent in a move inevitably dubbed as "Megxit" by media outlets.

Another of her sons, Prince Andrew, continues to be dogged by allegations in connection with late disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein and was forced to step down from public duties.

Conspicuous by its absence in the speech was the issue of Brexit, despite the political turbulence surrounding the UK's final exit from the European Union on December 31. The queen, as head of state, is required to remain strictly neutral on political matters.