Queen Elizabeth is set to address the U.K. and the Commonwealth about the worldwide coronavirus pandemic in a televised broadcast on Sunday — a rare kind of address that has only happened a handful of times during her 68-year reign.
The 93-year-old monarch makes a televised speech each year on Christmas, but she’s also gotten in front of the camera during times of hardship for the U.K.
The most recent special broadcast occurred back in April 2002 upon the death of the Queen Mother. Dressed in black with pearl necklaces, the Queen paid tribute to her mother, who lived to be 101, on the eve of the funeral.
“I count myself fortunate that my mother was blessed with a long and happy life,” the monarch said. “She had an infectious zest for living, and this remained with her until the very end.”
Queen Elizabeth added, “It was the warmth and affection of people everywhere which inspired her resolve, dedication and enthusiasm for life.”
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Queen Elizabeth also addressed the nation before the 1997 funeral of Princess Diana, after Prince William and Prince Harry‘s mother died in a tragic car accident in Paris.
“Since last Sunday’s dreadful news we have seen, throughout Britain and around the world, an overwhelming expression of sadness at Diana’s death,” she said. “We have all been trying in our different ways to cope. It is not easy to express a sense of loss, since the initial shock is often succeeded by a mixture of other feelings: disbelief, incomprehension, anger — and concern for those who remain. We have all felt those emotions in these last few days. So what I say to you now, as your Queen and as a grandmother, I say from my heart.”
The monarch continued, “First, I want to pay tribute to Diana myself. She was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness. I admired and respected her — for her energy and commitment to others, and especially for her devotion to her two boys.”
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The Queen addressed the nation on Feb. 24, 1991, regarding the Gulf War.
As a nation, we are rightly proud of our armed forces. That pride has been fully justified by their conduct in the Gulf war so far. As they, with our allies, face a fresh and yet sterner challenge, I hope that we can unite, and pray that their success will be as swift as it is certain and that it may be achieved with as small a cost in human life and suffering as possible. Then may the true reward of their courage be granted: a just and lasting peace.”
The monarch recorded her upcoming address about the coronavirus at Windsor Castle, where she has been staying since mid-March with husband Prince Philip as the royal family began self-isolating and social distancing.
The Queen had previously agreed with the U.K. government to record a TV address, but she had been waiting for the right time. It is set to air on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET.
“Everyone has had some time to adjust to the new ways of living and working, and it felt appropriate now to thank people and acknowledge the difficulties that many people are facing,” a royal source tells PEOPLE.
The monarch is believed to be in good health and continuing her work, such as receiving her official paperwork and documents in her famous “red boxes,” behind the scenes. She is also continuing to hold her weekly audience with Prime Minister Johnson, although they are now taking place by phone.
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