DURING her 70-year reign, the Queen faced three major crises.
Her “annus horribilis” in 1992 saw the marriages of her children Charles, Andrew and Anne break up.
It was also the year Windsor Castle burned down, while politicians clamored for the sovereign to pay taxes.
The death of Princess Diana five years later nearly brought down the monarchy as millions of the Queen’s subjects turned against the royals in the wake of the tragedy that would profoundly affect William and Harry’s future.
And in 2020, the Covid pandemic brought grief to families around the world.
But each time, the queen found wise words to quell the looming threats to the monarchy and reassure her people in times of their own strife. . .
“ANNUS HORRIBILIS”, NOVEMBER 24, 1992
1992 is not a year I look back on with unalloyed joy. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an “annus horribilis”. I suspect I’m not alone in this opinion.
I sometimes wonder how future generations will judge the events of this turbulent year. I daresay the story will take a slightly more moderate view than that of some contemporary commentators.
Distance is known to add magic to even the less attractive vistas. Finally, it has the invaluable benefit of hindsight.
But it can also add an extra dimension to judgment, giving it a leaven of moderation and compassion—even wisdom—that is sometimes lacking in the reactions of those whose job in life is to have instant opinions on all things big and small to deliver.
No part of the community has all the virtues, no one has all the vices.
I’m pretty sure most people try to do their job as well as possible, even if the result isn’t always entirely successful. Anyone who has never failed to achieve perfection has the right to be the harshest critic.
Finally, it has the invaluable benefit of hindsight.
There is no doubt that criticism is good for people and institutions in public life.
No institution – city, monarchy or whatever – should expect not to be scrutinized by those who show their loyalty and support, let alone those who don’t.
But we are all part of the same fabric of our national society, and this scrutiny by one part or another can be just as effective if done with an air of gentleness, good humor, and understanding.
ADDRESS TO THE NATION, SEPTEMBER 5, 1997
Since last Sunday’s terrible news, we have seen an overwhelming expression of sadness across the UK and around the world at Diana’s death.
We’ve all tried to deal with it in our own different ways. It is not easy to express a feeling of loss, because the initial shock is often followed by a mixture of other feelings: disbelief, incomprehension, anger – and concern for the bereaved.
We have all felt these emotions in these last few days. So what I say to you now, as your queen and as a grandmother, I say from the bottom of my heart.
First, I want to pay tribute to Diana herself. She was an extraordinary and gifted person. In good times and bad, she never lost her ability to smile and laugh or 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.
This week in Balmoral we all tried to help William and Harry cope with the devastating loss they and the rest of us have suffered.
No one who knew Diana will ever forget her. She will be remembered by millions of others who never met her but felt they knew her.
For my part, I believe there are lessons to be learned from her life and from the extraordinary and moving response to her death. I share your determination to preserve her memory.
This is also an opportunity for me, on behalf of my family and in particular Prince Charles and William and Harry, to thank all of you who have brought flowers, sent messages and paid your respects in so many ways to a remarkable person.
In good times and bad, she never lost her ability to smile and laugh or inspire others with her warmth and kindness.
These acts of kindness were a great source of help and comfort.
Our thoughts are also with Diana’s family and the families of those who died with her. I know that they too have drawn strength from what has happened since last weekend as they try to heal their grief and then face the future without a loved one.
I hope that tomorrow, wherever we are, we can all express our sadness at Diana’s loss and our gratitude for her all-too-short life. It’s a chance to show the whole world the British nation united in sorrow and respect.
May the departed rest in peace and may we all thank God for someone who made many, many people happy.
COVID TRANSMISSION, APRIL 5, 2020
I speak to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time. A time of upheaval in the life of our country: An upheaval that has brought some suffering, much financial hardship and tremendous changes in the daily lives of all of us.
I would like to thank everyone on the NHS frontline, as well as carers and those doing essential work who selflessly continue with their daily chores outside the home to support us all.
I’m sure the nation will join me in assuring you that what you are doing is appreciated and every hour of your hard work brings us closer to a return to more normal times.
I also want to thank those of you who are staying at home, helping to protect the vulnerable and sparing many families the pain already felt by those who have lost loved ones.
Together we are fighting this disease and I want to assure you that if we remain united and determined, we will overcome it.
I hope that in the years to come everyone can be proud of how they have responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say that the Brits of this generation were as strong as anyone else.
That the attributes of self-discipline, calm, good-humoured determination and compassion still define this country.
Pride in ourselves is not part of our past, it defines our present and our future.
Better days will return: we will be back with our friends; we will be back with our families; we will meet again.
The moments when the UK came together to applaud its care and essential workers will be remembered as an expression of our national spirit; and its symbol will be the rainbows drawn by children.
Across the Commonwealth and around the world, we have seen heartwarming stories of people coming together to help others, whether by delivering food parcels and medicines, checking on neighbors or converting businesses to support the relief effort .
And while self-isolation can be difficult at times, many people of all faiths and none discover that it offers an opportunity to slow down, stop and reflect in prayer or meditation.
It reminds me of the very first show I did in 1940 with the help of my sister. We, as children, spoke from here in Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and turned away for their own safety.
Even today, many will again feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones. But now, as then, we know deep down that it’s the right thing to do.
Although we have faced challenges before, this one is different. This time, we unite with all nations around the world in a common endeavour, using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal. We will be successful – and this success will belong to each of us.
We should console ourselves that though we may have more to endure, better days will come: we will be with our friends again; we will be back with our families; we will meet again.
But now I send you all my thanks and warmest good wishes.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/6233403/three-major-crises-queen-elizabeth-reign/ Inside the three major crises of Queen Elizabeth’s reign and how she turned things around