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Editor's Viewpoint

Queen's wise words provide inspiration during coronavirus crisis

Editor's Viewpoint


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The Queen during her address to the nation (Buckingham Palace/PA)

The Queen during her address to the nation (Buckingham Palace/PA)

The Queen during her address to the nation (Buckingham Palace/PA)

Behind the still growing statistics of the coronavirus in Northern Ireland, there are many sad stories of bereavement and suffering. In today's paper we publish the poignant story of the Co Tyrone man whose elderly aunt and uncle, Madge and William Finlay from Ardstraw, recently died with days of each other.

Their nephew tells of his sadness of having to sit within the safety of a car during the funeral service, and he describes the moving scene where members of the community who, in order to maintain social distancing, stood at their doors and threw flowers as both hearses passed by.

This is just one of many deeply moving tragedies being played out in homes across Northern Ireland at a time when a further seven people have died from the virus, bringing the total here to 63. By early yesterday 91 more cases were reported, bringing the total here to 1,089, while a total of 8,486 have been tested for the virus.

Against such a background here and elsewhere, the Queen's broadcast to the nation last night was inspiring and historic.

To assess the magnitude of the current situation, this was only the fourth such broadcast to the nation during the Queen's long reign. The others took place after the Queen Mother's death in 2002, ahead of Diana Princess of Wales' funeral in 1997, and at the time of the first Gulf War in 1991.

Last night the Queen thanked the NHS and other frontline staff in the war against Covid-19, those keeping other essential services going, and those who stay at home. She acknowledged the grief, and the financial difficulties faced by so many people, and underlined the enormous changes the country is witnessing.

She also expressed her hope that in years to come everyone will look back and take pride in how they responded to the challenge, and that future generations will say that the Britons of this generation were as strong as any, and that "self-discipline, quiet good-humoured resolve and fellow-feeling still characterise this country".

The Queen, who has lived through many crises including the Second World War, was speaking at the age of 93 about a disease which is taking such a toll on her own generation, and so many others.

It was an inspiring speech which encouraged all of us to remain sensible and steadfast for the challenges that are coming.

As she said: "We may have more to endure but better days lie ahead."

Belfast Telegraph