Queen Elizabeth's Commonwealth Day Speech Included a Call for "Unity"

Hours before Meghan Markle and Prince Harry sit down with Oprah for a tell-all interview about life after leaving the royal family, Queen Elizabeth is delivering a message of her own.

During her pre-recorded address from Windsor Castle — which aired on BBC on Sunday — the Queen marked Commonwealth Day with a speech celebrating the "spirit of unity" amid the challenges of the last year. "Over the coming week, as we celebrate the friendship, spirit of unity and achievements of the Commonwealth, we have an opportunity to reflect on a time like no other," she said.

Queen Elizabeth

"Whilst experiences of the last year have been different across the Commonwealth, stirring examples of courage, commitment and selfless dedication have been demonstrated in every Commonwealth nation and territory, notably by those working on the frontline who have been delivering healthcare and other public services in their communities," the monarch continued, adding, "The testing times experience by so many have led to a deeper appreciation of the mutual support and spiritual sustenance we enjoy being connected to others."

It's the first time in history the royals have commemorated Commonwealth Day with a television-only program, as the service typically takes place at Westminster Abbey.

"The need to maintain greater physical distance, or to live and work largely in isolation, has, for many people across the Commonwealth, been an unusual experience," the Queen noted. "In our everyday lives, we have had to become more accustomed to connecting and communicating via innovative technology – which has been new to some of us – with conversations and communal gatherings, including Commonwealth meetings, conducted online, enabling people to stay in touch with friends, family, colleagues and counterparts, who they have not been able to meet in person."

She concluded her remarks with a hopeful message for what's to come. "Looking forward, relationships with others across the Commonwealth will remain important, as we strive to deliver a common future that is sustainable and more secure, so that the nations and neighborhoods in which we live, wherever they are located, become healthier and happier places for us all," the Queen said.

Later this evening, CBS will air Harry and Meghan's first interview since their engagement back in 2017. During the discussion, Oprah will speak to the Sussexes about their move to the United States and what is next for the couple's future as non-royals — as no topic is said to be "off limits."

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