In 1940, she gave her first public broadcast on the wireless, speaking to the children of the Commonwealth in a landmark address captured by a solemn black and white photograph.

Eight decades on and the Queen has broken new ground once again at the age of 94, permitting the first broadcast of words from an all-family video call to thank nurses for their "very important" work.

The Queen has led her family in a major royal effort to thank nurses across the world for "keeping the show on the road" during coronavirus, as they released a "chorus" of gratitude to the medical profession.

The Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Princess Royal and the Countess of Wessex appeared in a lively montage of video calls, telling nurses: "Thank you from the bottom of my heart."

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The joint royal effort is the first "zoom" engagement undertaken by the wider family as a team, and was captured for posterity on a five-minute-long video.

In it, the Duchess of Cambridge and Countess of Wessex work together to speak to nurses in seven Commonwealth countries, showing a firm friendship as they joked about homeschooling amid their serious questions about Covid-19.

Kate and Sophie speak to Malawi. Photo / Twitter
Kate and Sophie speak to Malawi. Photo / Twitter

The broadcast saw members of the family working from home in Scotland, Norfolk and Windsor to coordinate a celebration of nurses and midwives in a clear sign of their united front as they work through coronavirus.

It opened with audio of the Queen, speaking to Professor Kathleen McCourt, the president of the Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation and Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing.

"This is rather an important day," said the Queen. "They [nurses] have obviously had a very important part to play recently."

It is understood to be the first time that the Queen has given permission for direct audio from one of her one-on-one conversations to be aired.

She chose not to appear on video, preserving a small element of mystique around her working world.

On film, the rest of the senior working Royal Family stepped into the breach for a five-minute montage of calls.

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In one session, speaking to nurses in London, the Duchess of Cambridge said: "I don't know how you manage to do this and keep the show on the road despite the extra pressures you're all under and the challenging conditions.

"It's just shown how vital the role that nurses play across the world. You should be so proud of the work that you do."

Princess Anne speaks to Tanzania. Photo / Twitter
Princess Anne speaks to Tanzania. Photo / Twitter

The Prince of Wales, in a video message to the sector, said: "On this International Nurses' Day my family and I want to join in the chorus of thank yous to nursing and midwifery staff across the country and indeed the world.

"Thank you all so much for the diligence and courage that you have shown."

The Duchess of Cornwall recorded messages of support for nurses from the Royal Naval Medical Service and Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children Charity, telling them: "Extraordinary times call for extraordinary people."

Working together in a friendly royal double act, the Duchess of Cambridge and Countess of Wessex spoke to nurses in Sierra Leone, India, Malawi, the Bahamas, Australia, Cyprus and London to hear of the varying challenges they faced on the ground.

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"It's amazing that you're able to still continue the support and the care that you would normally provide even under these really difficult circumstances," the Duchess told them.

The Countess added: "I hope you're feeling some of the love as well. Thank you for what you're doing."

Speaking to Army nurses based in Cyprus, the Duchess asked whether those on base were worried about families and loved ones at home, noting: "That must be adding to the pressure."

Hearing from Corporal David Thomas, who said his children are doing well and his ex-wife has been busy as a teacher, Sophie - who has two teenagers at home - eyed Catherine before joking: "Be careful, she's about to be recruited.

"I'd quite like her to come and help me out with homeschooling," the Duchess agreed. "You're a huge inspiration to everybody. Thank you from everyone here."

Prince William talked to nurses at the Royal Marsden, one of his patronages, telling them: "Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you're doing. You're doing a terrific job and I hope you know how appreciated it is."

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Princess Anne, as patron of the Vine Trust, called Tanzania to speak to the leader of a medical ship providing facilities for those with little or no access to medical care, while Princess Alexandra heard from the head of the Naval Nursing Service.

The calls, which took place across four days before the video was edited together, are part of the Royal Family's effort to support the nation and Commonwealth through coronavirus in a cohesive effort.

"On every call, the Royal Family reiterated their thanks to nurses across the Commonwealth for the incredible work they do on a daily basis," said a spokesman.