Queen Elizabeth II has delivered what is believed to be the first-ever Easter message of her 68-year reign, offering a message of hope to people confined to their homes throughout the holiday by the coronavirus pandemic.
The 93-year-old monarch — who also serves as Supreme Governor of the Church of England — recorded this message in the drawing room of Windsor Castle, where she is herself in self-isolation as a result of the pandemic.
The Queen recalled how “many Christians would normally light candles together” on Holy Saturday, the sombre day preceding Easter Sunday when Christ lay in his tomb — and, according to Christian teaching, descended into Hades and preached to the dead.
“This year, Easter will be different for many of us, but by keeping apart we keep others safe,” the Queen said.
“But Easter isn’t cancelled; indeed, we need Easter as much as ever. The discovery of the risen Christ on the first Easter Day gave his followers new hope and fresh purpose, and we can all take heart from this,” she added.
“We know that coronavirus will not overcome us.”
The Queen’s Easter message can be viewed or read in full below.
The Queen speaks of light overcoming darkness, and the hope that Easter symbolises, in a special message recorded to mark the Easter weekend. pic.twitter.com/fTFCOSVBtT
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) April 11, 2020
Many religions have festivals which celebrate light overcoming darkness. Such occasions are often accompanied by the lighting of candles. They seem to speak to every culture, and appeal to people of all faiths, and of none. They are lit on birthday cakes and to mark family anniversaries, when we gather happily around a source of light. It unites us.
As darkness falls on the Saturday before Easter Day, many Christians would normally light candles together. In church, one light would pass to another, spreading slowly and then more rapidly as more candles are lit. It’s a way of showing how the good news of Christ’s resurrection has been passed on from the first Easter by every generation until now.
This year, Easter will be different for many of us, but by keeping apart we keep others safe. But Easter isn’t cancelled; indeed, we need Easter as much as ever. The discovery of the risen Christ on the first Easter Day gave his followers new hope and fresh purpose, and we can all take heart from this. We know that coronavirus will not overcome us.
As dark as death can be — particularly for those suffering with grief — light and life are greater. May the living flame of the Easter hope be a steady guide as we face the future. I wish everyone of all faiths and denominations a blessed Easter.