Queen Elizabeth Issues Statement Amid Coronavirus Crisis: We 'Stand Ready to Play Our Part'

Queen Elizabeth is supporting the citizens of her country amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a new statement released by Buckingham Palace on Thursday, the 93-year-old monarch addressed the current and upcoming challenges posed by the rising concerns of the coronavirus pandemic and asserted the strong need to work together as a country.

“As Philip and I arrive at Windsor today, we know that many individuals and families across the United Kingdom, and around the world, are entering a period of great concern and uncertainty,” the statement began.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle along with Prince William and Kate Middleton shared the Queen’s message on their respective social media accounts.

The monarch left Buckingham Palace for Windsor Castle late Thursday morning, while her husband Prince Philip, 98, was taken by helicopter from their Sandringham estate in Norfolk (where he has been staying in recent months since recovering from surgery in December) to the castle, 30 miles west of London. The Queen went to Windsor a week earlier than anticipated due to concerns regarding the virus.

The statement continued, “We are all being advised to change our normal routines and regular patterns of life for the greater good of the communities we live in and, in particular, to protect the most vulnerable within them. 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.

“We are enormously thankful for the expertise and commitment of our scientists, medical practitioners and emergency and public services; but now more than any time in our recent past, we all have a vitally important part to play as individuals – today and in the coming days, weeks and months.”

“Many of us will need to find new ways of staying in touch with each other and making sure that loved ones are safe. I am certain we are up to that challenge,” the statement concluded. “You can be assured that my family and I stand ready to play our part.”

On Thursday, Queen Elizabeth was pictured leaving the palace accompanied by her beloved pets — her dorgis, a cross between a corgi and a dachshund.

The couple, who have been married for 72 years, have not seen each other since the Queen left Sandringham in early February, as he was largely staying at Wood Farm, on the estate in Norfolk, while the Queen has been based in London and Windsor Castle at weekends.

The statement came after her 37-year-old grandson Prince William spoke out in a personal video, posted on the official Kensington Royal social media pages, to address coronavirus on Wednesday.

William, second in line for the British throne, also called for the U.K. to band together amid the outbreak of the virus in his message

“Whenever and wherever adversity strikes, the people of the U.K. have a unique ability to pull together,” William says. “The way that local communities support those affected shows the very best of our values and human nature.”

He continues, “The public’s desire to help in the wake of tragedy needs to be managed and channelled in the best possible way — which is why the establishment of the National Emergencies Trust was so important. The NET has launched an appeal to raise funds to help local charities support individuals suffering hardship as a result of the #coronavirus outbreak.”

Queen Elizabeth has had to cancel all of her upcoming public events because of the coronavirus spreading across the world and will be based at Windsor for the foreseeable future. She would have headed there next week for the Easter season, known at the palace as “Easter court,” in any case. She had previously been expected to have an away day visit to Cheshire on Thursday.

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Earlier on Thursday, it was announced that the planned State Visit by the Emperor and Empress of Japan will be postponed to another date.

Amid the warnings from the U.K. government that people should avoid gatherings with friends and family, as well as large gatherings and crowded places, such as pubs, clubs and theaters, it was becoming inevitable that the springtime celebrations with the Queen at their center would be shelved.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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