The Queen has thanked Commonwealth volunteers for their hard work during the coronavirus pandemic, joining a Zoom call on Sunday to speak to three winners of the Commonwealth Points of Light award. The occasion marked the first-ever time Her Majesty, who was seen beaming in footage shared on the Royal Family Youtube channel, has taken part in a virtual tour, Buckingham Palace has confirmed.
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A statement from the Palace explained Ruy from Mozambique, one of the award winners, had taken the monarch on a tour of his soup kitchen, which helped 6,000 people every day during the pandemic.
It said: “The Queen spoke to Nikoletta from Cyprus whose initiative provides free music lessons and instruments to children from challenged communities.
“Ruy from Mozambique took The Queen on her first-ever virtual tour to show his soup kitchen which fed 6,000 people a day during the pandemic.
“And Her Majesty thanked Len from Trinidad and Tobago, a turtle conservationist whose work has transformed the country into one of the world’s densest leatherback sea turtle nesting sites.”
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The Queen said to the award winners: “Thank you all for taking part in this programme.
“I’m delighted to have heard your stories and I think it’s wonderful work that you’re all doing, and volunteering so much. Thank you very much.”
Wildlife enthusiast Len Peters, from Trinidad, who chatted to the Queen during the video call, was the first person to receive the Commonwealth Points of Light award, which recognises outstanding volunteering work by individuals.
Mr Peters featured in Sir David Attenborough’s popular wildlife series Blue Planet II, something the Queen was curious about.
Her Majesty asked Mr Peters about his appearance on the programme.
She said: “So David Attenborough got to know what you were doing?”
He told the Queen his relatives were one of the largest turtle-eating families in his village but he and a group of friends came together “to try and make a difference”.
He said: “Here you have a young boy from a turtle-eating family wanting to make a difference.
“At night we would walk the beach back and forth protecting the turtles that came up, to try to convince people that it was the right thing to do.
“What we didn’t know, that 30 years later that effort would see Trinidad being recognised as one of the most important nesting sites for the leatherback seas turtles in the world.”
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Reacting to the video on social media, Twitter users were quick to offer their support.
One tweeted: “The Queen is a wonderful woman.”
Another wrote: “A true feminist hero…pure class.”
Someone else simply said: “Adorable.”
Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams has explained the vital role the Queen plays as head of the state during a time of crisis.
He told Express.co.uk: “I think the future of the Royal Family has been proven during the pandemic. If you want a focus on national unity, you couldn’t get anything that is either better or more appropriate than that what we’ve had over the last 1000+ years.
“I think the vast majority of people are in favour of the royals. I think if you look at two things, the Queen’s broadcast about the pandemic and her VE Day speech. During a crisis like this, you see the purpose of a Royal Family.”