A Queen’s Speech

While the COVID-19 pandemic shows what world leaders are truly made of, a symbolic figure sends out the message we all need, whether you’re in Central London or in a Caracas slum.

Photo: The New York Times, retrieved.

In the middle of the 21st century, the concept of a monarchy seems outdated to manya pointless institution that does nothing but consume taxpayer money to sustain a flamboyant lifestyle with which most of the population can only dream of.

Here in the United Kingdom, the subject is certainly controversial. The Royal Family is arguably the first thing that comes to foreigner’s minds when they think about the UK, and while the image of Queen Elizabeth II is around the hundreds of now-closed tourist shops in London, many people, in particular younger generations of liberal Britons, oppose the continuity of an institution some regard as useless.

But beyond republican ideas and gossip, truth is that few people portray the resilience that has characterized Great Britain better than Queen Elizabeth II.

Her extraordinary address broadcast on Sunday April 5th, the fifth of this kind she records during her 68-year reign, only lasted 4 and a half minutes. Besides thanking the NHSthe UK’s beloved public health networkshe remembered the first radio broadcast she made with her sister, the late Princess Margaret, during World War II, and compared the current sense of separation felt by families forced to be kept apart to that of children sent to the British countryside during the German bombing of the cities. The message came just before people knew that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted into a hospital due to COVID-19.

Few people portray the resilience that has characterized Great Britain better than Queen Elizabeth II.

The Queen’s speech sharply contrasts with the hours-long, senseless broadcasts of Nicolás Maduro (and his predecessor). While Maduro only talks about what prevents him from doing what’s best for the people, Queen Elizabeth reminds Britain that this challenge is different to any other the country has faced. This time the whole world faces a common threat and we’ll beat it together, a particularly relevant idea following Brexit and a resurgence of nationalism in the island.

“This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavor, using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal. We will succeed and that success will belong to every one of us.”

The Queen ended with a short but reassuring universal message: We will meet again.

Maduro, meanwhile, just announced the creation of his Tik Tok account, because hearing his voice continuously through radio and TV is apparently not enough to get his message across.

Juan Carlos Gabaldón

Medical doctor from Merida, currently studying Medical Parasitology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine