Easter isn't cancelled - Queen says coronavirus will not overcome

Britain's Queen Elizabeth's speech

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Queen Elizabeth said on Saturday that coronavirus "would not overcome us" as she delivered her second rallying message to the nation in a week.

The 93-year-old monarch, who is the symbolic head of the Church of England, also stated that "Easter isn't cancelled" in her first ever address to mark the Christian holy day.

"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," she said.

Last Sunday, Elizabeth gave only the fifth televised address of her 68-year reign to say that if Britons stayed resolute in the face of a lockdown and self-isolation, they would beat the COVID-19 pandemic.

On that occasion, she made reference to her experience of World War Two, but this time the monarch, who takes her religious faith seriously, used the Easter message to reinforce that message.

"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 said in the audio recording on Twitter.

"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."

Her message comes as Britain's death toll nears 10,000, with 917 more deaths reported by health officials on Saturday.

The queen is usually joined by other senior members of the royal family at a traditional Easter service at Windsor Castle, where she is staying with her husband Prince Philip, 98.

However, the service will not take place this year because of restrictions on social gatherings including a ban on church services.

"I wish everyone of all faiths and denominations a blessed Easter," the queen said.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by James Drummond)