Queen Mathilde of the Belgians has shared a touching open letter addressed to young people in which she stresses the importance of following the guidlines announced by the country’s government to prevent the further spread of coronavirus. Mathilde also acknowledges the difficult situation this creates, especially for young people and she shares some words of advice she has also given to her own children in isolation.
Queen Mathilde took to the Belgian Palace’s social media channels to share a message with Belgian young people. For over two weeks all schools, stores and gyms have been closed to try and stop the spread of coronavirus in Belgium. At the same time, the government has announced measures in which all non-essential travel is forbidden. People are only allowed to leave their homes to work, go grocery shopping, help others at risk and to go on a walk or bike ride in nature. This also means that young people are not allowed to see their friends. It is because of this difficult stituation that Her Majesty has offered some words of support for children and teenagers.
In the letter, the Queen states that she is grateful and impressed by the ability of young people to take responsibility by following the governement guidelines to put an end to the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time Queen Mathilde acknowledged the confusing and challenging situation in which many young people find themselves. And Mathilde expresses her concerns about the impact on their mental wellbeing after learning that many might feel anxious or fearful because of the situation.
Therefore Her Majesty has shared some advice, which she has also given to her four children, to ease the situation for the youth. Her Majesty wrote:
“First and foremost, don’t hesitate to talk to your parents or the people around you about what you feel and experience. Also inquire about this with your family, friends or individuals you know. Try to maintain a daily routine as much as possible, wake up at the time you usually get up, study, relax and go to sleep. Keep working hard for a while, make use of the learning resources that you have available. You will all be better prepared when school starts again. Above all, make time to have fun, laugh, relax. Come out now and then to get a breath of fresh air, but stay close to home.
Finally, never hesitate to ask for help or to give a listening ear to people around you who feel vulnerable in these turbulent times. If necessary, know that there are several help lines on the internet that are accessible free of charge: they can offer you support and guidance to start off with.”
She ended her letter by wishing all of the Belgian youth the best of luck.
Queen Mathilde is the Honorary President of Unicef Belgium. She wrote this letter after having a telephone meeting with Henrietta Fore, Executive director of Unicef Belgium. Her Majesty inquired about the impact of COVID-19 on the mental wellbeing of children and youth.