Queen Elizabeth was just 14 years old when she made her first public speech on Oct. 13, 1940 with a radio address to children across the Commonwealth — many of whom were living away from home due to WWII. Her younger sister, Princess Margaret, who was 10 years old at the time, also joined in.
Now, 80 years later, the monarch’s great-grandchildren are following in her footsteps by doing their part to boost morale across the U.K. and the world amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In her address eight decades ago on the BBC’s Children’s Hour, the then-Princess Elizabeth appealed to her peers in the sympathetic radio address.
“Thousands of you in this country have had to leave your homes and be separated from your fathers and mothers. My sister Margaret Rose and I feel so much for you as we know from experience what it means to be away from those we love most of all,” she said.
“To you, living in new surroundings, we send a message of true sympathy and at the same time we would like to thank the kind people who have welcomed you to their homes in the country,” she continued.
She also referenced supporting the servicemen who were fighting for their freedom and safety at home and abroad.
“Before I finish I can truthfully say to you all that we children at home are full of cheerfulness and courage. We are trying to do all we can to help our gallant sailors, soldiers and airmen, and we are trying, too, to bear our own share of the danger and sadness of war.
“We know, every one of us, that in the end all will be well; for God will care for us and give us victory and peace. And when peace comes, remember it will be for us, the children of today, to make the world of tomorrow a better and happier place.”
Everett/Shutterstock Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth in 1940
She ended her speech by bringing Margaret on to say goodnight to their young listeners.
“My sister is by my side and we are both going to say goodnight to you. Come on, Margaret,” the young princess said.
Margaret then replied: “Goodnight, children.”
“Goodnight, and good luck to you all,” the future Queen concluded.
The young royal continued to find ways to offer her support as WWII raged on. By February 1945, Princess Elizabeth was 18. At her own insistence, she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service and trained as a truck mechanic and driver.
Everett/Shutterstock; The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
On March 26, George, 6, was joined by his sister Charlotte, 4, and brother Louis, who turns 2 on April 23, as they made a surprise appearance on their parents Prince William and Kate Middleton‘s social media accounts, enthusiastically clapping for all those helping patients affected by coronavirus as they joined in on a viral hashtag initiative amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
“To all the doctors, nurses, carers, GPs, pharmacists, volunteers and other NHS staff working tirelessly to help those affected by #COVID19: thank you,” the video was captioned, along with the hashtags ##ClapForOurCarers, #ClapForCarers, #ThankYouNHS and #ClapForNHS.
Little Louis stands between his older siblings — and sweetly glances up at them both as they all clap in unison. George and Charlotte smile throughout the clip, with the little princess letting out a giggle towards the end.
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The young royals are joining not only their parents (who have been championing healthcare workers) in supporting the Commonwealth during these trying times, but also their grandfather Prince Charles, who recently received a positive coronavirus diagnosis, and the Queen, who issued her own powerful message of support.
Kensington Palace/PA Images Kate Middleton and Prince William meet ambulance staff and call handlers who have been taking emergency calls from the public amid the coronavirus pandemic
It shows that even at such young ages, they have an important role to play in supporting their country and the Commonwealth at large — especially for George, who will one day be King.
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