The Queen urged Britain to rise to the unprecedented challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, speaking of her faith that this generation will prove themselves "as strong as any" that have come before when she made a rare public address at 7am New Zealand time.

Invoking the spirit that saw the country through World War 2, the 93-year-old monarch talked of her hope that Britons will be able to "take pride in how they responded", drawing on the traits of "self-discipline, quiet good-humoured resolve and fellow-feeling" that characterise the UK.

"I am speaking to you at what I know is an increasingly challenging time. A time of disruption in the life of our country: a disruption that has brought grief to some, financial difficulties to many, and enormous changes to the daily lives of us all," she said.

"I want to thank everyone on the NHS front line, as well as care workers and those carrying out essential roles, who selflessly continue their day-to-day duties outside the home in support of us all," she said.

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"I also want to thank those of you who are staying at home, thereby helping to protect the vulnerable and sparing many families the pain already felt by those who have lost loved ones. Together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it.

"I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any. That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humoured resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterise this country. The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future.

"The moments when the United Kingdom has come together to applaud its care and essential workers will be remembered as an expression of our national spirit; and its symbol will be the rainbows drawn by children.

"Across the Commonwealth and around the world, we have seen heart-warming stories of people coming together to help others, be it through delivering food parcels and medicines, checking on neighbours, or converting businesses to help the relief effort.

"And though self-isolating may at times be hard, many people of all faiths, and of none, are discovering that it presents an opportunity to slow down, pause and reflect, in prayer or meditation.

"It reminds me of the very first broadcast I made, in 1940, helped by my sister. We, as children, spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety. Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones. But now, as then, we know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do.

"While we have faced challenges before, this one is different. This time we join with all nations across the globe in a common endeavour, using the great advances of science and our instinctive compassion to heal."

"We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.

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"But for now, I send my thanks and warmest good wishes to you all."

No 10 said The Queen's intervention was designed to "lift the nation's spirits" as the Government urged people to follow lockdown rules designed to slow the spread of Covid-19 and prevent the NHS being overwhelmed.

The Queen's address was filmed at Windsor Castle by a single cameraman wearing protective equipment who stood a safe distance from the monarch, while technical staff worked from the next room.

The four-minute broadcast will be aired at 7am.

The message was recorded in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle, where the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, 98, are living in semi-isolation to protect them from coronavirus. The Prince of Wales, 71, has already contracted the virus, though was well enough to open the temporary Nightingale Hospital at London's ExCeL centre via video link on Friday.

It comes as:

• The death toll of those who tested positive rose by 708, taking the UK total to 4313. They included a 5-year-old with an underlying condition, who became the country's youngest victim;

• Prof Stephen Powis, the NHS medical director, said hospital admissions from the virus had shown signs of "plateauing" in London, the worst-hit area of the country, and new cases had recently "stabilised", as he warned the UK not to "take our foot off the pedal";

• It emerged that 13 residents at a Glasgow care home had died over the past week following a suspected outbreak;

• Carrie Symonds, the Prime Minister's fiancée, revealed she had been in bed for the past week with coronavirus symptoms but was "now on the mend". She wrote on Twitter of her "worry" about having Covid-19 while she was pregnant, as Boris Johnson also remained in isolation with a high temperature;

• Michael Gove, the UK Cabinet Office minister, revealed that a team from University College London working with Mercedes Benz was producing 250 new breathing aids for Covid-19 patients a day, with plans to increase the number to 1000 per day this week. Meanwhile, a shipment of 300 ventilators arrived from China;

A senior No 10 official said: "The Queen is the best judge of when to talk to the country and we absolutely agree that now is the right time. We have asked the country to make huge sacrifices and life is very difficult at the moment for a great number of people. Hearing from Her Majesty at this time is an important way of helping to lift the nation's spirits."

- Telegraph Media Group