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The Queen’s National Addresses: Moments of History


The Queen is set to address the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth on Sunday evening as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect millions of lives around the world.

When she speaks on Sunday evening, it will be only the fifth time that Her Majesty has made a televised address outside of her annual Christmas message. While three were messages in times of conflict and mourning, one was a pre-planned speech to mark her Diamond Jubilee.

The First Gulf War (1991)

On 24 February 1991, as UK troops were on the ground deployed to the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Desert Storm, the Queen made the only wartime broadcast of her reign as she prayed for her soldiers.

“As a nation, we are rightly proud of our armed forces. That pride has been fully justified by their conduct in the Gulf war so far. As they, with our allies, face a fresh and yet sterner challenge, I hope that we can unite, and pray that their success will be as swift as it is certain and that it may be achieved with as small a cost in human life and suffering as possible. Then may the true reward of their courage be granted- a just and lasting peace.”

The Death of Diana, Princess of Wales (1997)

On 5 September 1997, following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, The Queen made an unprecedented speech honouring her former daughter-in-law.

The Queen had drawn criticism for staying in Scotland with Princes William and Harry and for not lowering the flag at Buckingham Palace but her speech, on the eve of Diana’s funeral, showed that her first duty had been “as a grandmother” to her grieving grandchildren and shifted public sentiment.

“”We have all felt those emotions in these last few days. So what I say to you now, as your Queen and as a grandmother, I say from my heart.

“First, I want to pay tribute to Diana myself. She was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness. I admired and respected her – for her energy and commitment to others, and especially for her devotion to her two boys.”

The Death of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (2002)

On 8 April 2002, on the eve of her mother’s funeral, The Queen paid tribute to the late Queen Mother for her resolve, dedication and enthusiasm for life. The Queen Mother passed away at the age of 101 on 30 March 2002.

“Ever since my beloved mother died over a week ago, I have been deeply moved by the outpouring of affection which has accompanied her death.

“My family and I always knew what she meant for the people of this country and the special place she occupied in the hearts of so many here, in the Commonwealth and in other parts of the world. But the extent of the tribute that huge numbers of you have paid my mother in the last few days has been overwhelming. I have drawn great comfort from so many individual acts of kindness and respect.”

The Queen”s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations (2012)

In 2012, The Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee.The Royal Family spent the year marking her 60 years on the throne but it was a June weekend, jam-packed with events, that served as the nation’s celebrations.

Following the weekend, The Queen made a televised address to thank the public for the “humbling experience” granted to her.

“The events that I have attended to mark my Diamond Jubilee have been a humbling experience. It has touched me deeply to see so many thousands of families, neighbours and friends celebrating together in such a happy atmosphere.”

The Queen will address the nation at 8pm on Sunday, April 5th 2020 in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Royal Central will bring you full coverage of this historic event.

About author

Jess is the Senior Royal Reporter and Editorial Assistant at Royal Central. Her interest in royalty started in her teenage years, coinciding with The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and grew from there. She specializes in the British Royal Family (with emphasis on the Cambridges) and the Danish Royal Family, and has provided royal commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia.