Extraordinary people give historical speeches in historic moments. And among them, Queen Elizabeth II stands out. With grace, elegance, and authenticity her words carry immense weight. When she speaks, the British People listen… and so does the rest of the world. This time we’d like to learn from her powerful speech held in response to the pandemic.
We sense that this video was consciously crafted down to the smallest detail. Through it, Her Majesty the Queen sends a message of hope and confidence. Notice that this sub-message is first signaled by the way the Queen appears. An elegant green dress, which has a calming effect, complemented by roses on her desk matching her red rouge, reminding many viewers of familiar roses in the countryside of the UK. Because this is recorded in a room of the Windsor Castle, these details work together to create a feeling of warmth.
At the beginning of her speech, she describes the severity of the current crisis. It is not an unfriendly, matter-of-fact description. Doing so she expresses how concerned she is about the lives of the people and how close she feels to the suffering of many. From a public speaking perspective, this could be defined as empathy. A special connection with the audience.
In the following part, she motivates the audience. She achieves this by praising positive examples and by mentioning virtues that can be gained in difficult times like this. This is especially powerful coming from someone who lived through numerous challenges, such as the horrors of World War II.
The Queen also emphasizes her special bond with her people. She does this by calling to mind an earlier memory of her first radio speech as a young princess about the evacuation of children throughout the United Kingdom. She also weaves in her current pain of being separated from her broader family. Even the Queen is affected by the current epidemic. She then expands this comparison to a global level. All nations are affected by the epidemic and all nations must unite in their fight against it.
In the closing part of her speech, she sends a simple but powerful message. What we all desire currently, will be fulfilled again. Better days will return. We will be with our friends again. We will be with our families again. We will meet again. By repeating “we will” three times, Her Majesty makes use of what is called an anaphora.
A brilliant, motivating and reassuring speech by Queen Elizabeth II comes at a time when the need for such reassurance is at a historic level. May she serve as a source of inspiration for your next speech!