Many have wondered when we would hear from the Queen – not just as head of state but in some ways more importantly as head of the nation.
Her symbolic role, which for decades has meant she has led the United Kingdom in celebration and mourning, at times of great happiness and despair.
And this is one of those moments, as the Queen herself acknowledges we are “entering a period of great concern and uncertainty”.
She describes how we are all being advised to change our normal routines, and at 93 years old that means the monarch as well.
Today she left Buckingham palace and arrived at Windsor Castle a week earlier than she was due to.
She always spends Easter there, but it’s now uncertain when she might go back to London.
Her public engagements have been postponed, along with this year’s garden parties at Buckingham Palace being cancelled and the state visit by the Japanese emperor and his wife called off.
Just like the rest of us, the Royal Family are having to adjust, and work around the advice issued by the government, as they still want to carry out the role that is expected of them.
In times of need we usually see them out meeting those affected, thanking the emergency services, but at a time when we’re all being told to keep our distance those public displays of support and thanks just aren’t as easy and in many ways simply aren’t possible.
The Queen talks proudly of our past to try to encourage us all to heed the advice and look out for each other – especially the most vulnerable, saying: “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”.
During her 68-year reign she has witnessed extraordinary change, political and economic uncertainty, traumatic events that have rocked this country and the rest of the world.
She watched her father rally the nation during the Second World War.
The Queen’s first radio broadcast was also during the war, when she was a 14-year-old evacuee at Windsor Castle, addressing other children who had been sent away from home.
I wonder whether we might expect a television address from the Queen soon. Other monarchs in other European countries have already done broadcasts.
Now back at Windsor, Her Majesty is well aware of the important role the monarchy has in reassuring the nation, the final line of her message makes a clear commitment: “You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part.”