‘We’ll meet again’: Queen Elizabeth invokes WW2 spirit to defeat coronavirus

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II visits the headquarters of MI5, which is the United Kingdom's domestic counter-intelligence and security agency, at Thames House in London, Britain February 25, 2020. Victoria Jones/PA Wire/Pool via REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) – Queen Elizabeth told the British people on Sunday that they would overcome the coronavirus outbreak if they stayed resolute in the face of lockdown and self-isolation, invoking the spirit of World War Two in an extremely rare broadcast to the nation.

In what was only the fifth televised address of her 68-year reign, Elizabeth called upon Britons to show the resolve of their forbears and demonstrate they were as strong as generations of the past.

“We will meet again”, she pointedly said in a direct reference to the most famous British song from the war years of the 1940s, when she was a teenager. “Better days will return.”

“Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it,” the 93-year-old monarch said in the address from her Windsor Castle home where she is staying with her husband Prince Philip, 98.

“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.”

The broadcast came hours after officials said the death toll in Britain from the virus had risen by 621 in the last 24 hours to 4,934 with high fatalities still expected in the next week.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is among those in self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, and the queen’s own son and heir Prince Charles, 71, has recovered after suffering mild symptoms of the virus.

Like many countries in Europe, Britain is in a state of virtual lockdown, with people told to stay at home unless it was essential to go out. Health minister Matt Hancock said even stricter riles might be imposed if the current rules to curb the spread of the virus were flouted.

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