She also promised that the monarchy would continue to offer support to the nation. “You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part,” she said.
It is only the fifth time that the Queen has given this type of speech in her 68-year reign.
“If anything happened to the Queen it would be a terrible blow to the psyche of the country, so it is important she is kept safe. Coronavirus doesn’t distinguish between royalty and the rest of us.”
While the Queen is no doubt eager to get back to business as usual, due to her age making her a high-risk individual, it’s likely she will be isolating “for the foreseeable future”, Dampier says.
“We’re in uncharted territory but certainly her doctors will be doing the utmost to make sure that she is safe.”
This comes amid the news that the Queen’s birthday celebrations and Trooping the Colour, which were set for June, have been cancelled.
With the Queen remaining behind closed doors, and the next in line to the throne, Prince Charles, 71, recovering from the illness also in self-isolation, the crisis has provided an opportunity for Kate and William to make the transition into their new roles as figureheads of the crown.
It is a move made all the more significant now that Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are out of the picture, having left the royal family and relocated to Los Angeles.
“They are going to be the only visible royals – the face of the royal family,” Dampier says of Wills and Kate.
“Everything is on their shoulders. So it’s going to be a very difficult and stressful period for them but hopefully they will rise to the occasion.”
Before strict social distancing measures were introduced, on March 23, Kate and William visited the London Ambulance Service 111 Control Room and the NHS service in Croydon to thank the frontline workers. However, as numbers in Britain have spiked, the royals have instead resorted to digital modes of communication.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been posting messages of hope and support to their 11.6 million followers on Instagram. On March 27 they added a video of their children, Prince George, 6, Princess Charlotte, 5, and Prince Louis, 2, applauding nurses and doctors as part of the #ClapForOur Carers initiative from Anmer Hall in Norfolk, where they are isolating. And on April 9, students and staff at Casterton Primary Academy were treated to a surprise video call from the royals.
“It’s very difficult for them because obviously they can’t get out and about, so they’re very restricted,” Dampier says. “But video messages and digital platforms may be the way forward.”
The couple have also been promoting Place2Be’s partnership with schools to help families with mental health support and food deliveries during this crisis. Kate has acted as a patron
of the charity since 2013.
The duke and duchess reached out to staff at Queen’s Hospital Burton, where Amged El-Hawrani, 55, the first senior consultant in the UK to die from coronavirus, had worked.
Over telephone, Kate and William offered their deepest condolences and thanked the staff. “We’d just like to say from the two of us how proud we are of all of you and how amazingly you are all doing under extreme circumstances,” William said. “I know all of you see this as your job and that you get on with it, but this is a different level and you are doing an incredible job.”
Amid speculation that they could still hold the reins even after the UK returns to normal, it’s clear that Kate and William are providing the strength and solidarity that the British population needs right now.
“They have a very important role to play,” Dampier says. “A lot of people look up to them. Their star has been rising for some time, and this situation is going to add to that.”
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