Queen Elizabeth will deliver an extremely rare speech to the nation on Sunday, as Britain struggles with the increasingly deadly outbreak of the corona virus.
The government has practically blocked Britain, closed pubs, restaurants and almost all shops, banned social gatherings and ordered the British to stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary to venture out.
The measures are intended to stop the spread of the epidemic. Officials said on Friday that the death toll in the UK among those who tested positive for the virus rose 684 to 3,605, up 23% from the previous day.
"Her Majesty the Queen has launched a special program related to the Coronavirus outbreak in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth," Buckingham Palace said in a statement, without giving details of its content.
The address recorded at Windsor Castle, where the 93-year-old monarch lives with her husband Prince Philip, will be broadcast on Sunday at 1900 GMT. Last month, the Queen made a written statement saying the royal family would do their part to meet the challenge of the coronavirus outbreak.
"We know that many individuals and families in the UK and around the world are experiencing a period of great concern and uncertainty," she said at the time.
"We are all advised to change our normal routines and regular patterns of life for the benefit of the communities in which we live, and in particular to protect the weakest in them.
"The Queen rarely broadcasts to the nation, except for her annual Christmas television message, to give personal thanks or to calm down in times of crisis.
Royal experts said it was only the fifth such speech that she had held on the throne during her 68 years. The last was in 2012 after celebrations of her 60th year as Queen, which took place a decade after the previous broadcast after the death of her mother, the Queen Mother, in 2002, when she thanked the British for their condolences. She also gave a speech at the beginning of the Gulf War in 1991, and most importantly, delivered a gritty live broadcast after the death of her daughter-in-law Princess Diana in a Paris car accident in 1997 amid a national mourning and criticism of the royal family's response.
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