The Queen has issued a message of solidarity following the coronavirus outbreak, saying families around the UK were entering “a period of great concern and uncertainty”.
It comes after she moved from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle a week earlier than planned for the Easter period – and will likely stay there longer than originally thought – with coronavirus at its most widespread in London.
She has also cancelled a number of her public appearances in the coming months.
In a statement, she said: “As Philip and I arrive at Windsor today, we know that many individuals and families across the United Kingdom, and around the world, are entering a period of great concern and uncertainty.
“We are all being advised to change our normal routines and regular patterns of life for the greater good of the communities we live in and, in particular, to protect the most vulnerable within them.
“At times such as these, I am reminded that our nation’s history has been forged by people and communities coming together to work as one, concentrating our combined efforts with a focus on the common goal.
“We are enormously thankful for the expertise and commitment of our scientists, medical practitioners and emergency and public services; but now more than any time in our recent past, we all have a vitally important part to play as individuals – today and in the coming days, weeks and months.
“Many of us will need to find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe. I am certain we are up to that challenge. You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part.”
The 93-year-old monarch’s message comes after both Prince William and Prince Harry paid tribute to the “awe-inspiring” response of the public to the coronavirus crisis.
In separate social media messages, the two princes vowed to try and help coordinate community efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
William spoke of Britons’ “unique ability to pull together” in the face of adversity, as he marked the launch of a coronavirus appeal by the National Emergencies Trust.
In an Instagram post, the couple said: “These are uncertain times. And now, more than ever, we need each other.
“We need each other for truth, for support, and to feel less alone during a time that can honestly feel quite scary.
“There are so many around the world who need support right now, who are working tirelessly to respond to this crisis behind the scenes, on the frontline, or at home.
“Our willingness, as a people, to step up in the face of what we are all experiencing with COVID-19 is awe-inspiring.
“This moment is as true a testament there is to the human spirit.”
Harry and Meghan added they will be sharing information and resources to help people “navigate the uncertainty” over coronavirus, as well as highlighting “inspiring stories” of how people around the world are “connecting in ways big and small to lift all of us up”.
Earlier on Wednesday, William and Harry’s cousin Princess Beatrice cancelled her planned wedding reception in Buckingham Palace Gardens because of the coronavirus.