The Queen once again marked the holidays by delivering her annual Christmas Day broadcast, her first since the death of husband Prince Philip earlier this year.
The broadcast, recorded at Windsor Castle, was prefaced with excerpts from a speech she gave in 1997 in celebration of the couple’s golden wedding anniversary, and she began her remarks by paying tribute to her late husband.
“Although it’s a time of great happiness and good cheer for many, Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones. This year, especially, I understand why,” said the Queen.
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“But for me, in the months since the death of my beloved Philip, I have drawn great comfort from the warmth and affection of the many tributes to his life and work — from around the country, the Commonwealth and the world,” she continued.
“His sense of service, intellectual curiosity and capacity to squeeze fun out of any situation — were all irrepressible. That mischievous, enquiring twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him,” she added.
“But life, of course, consists of final partings as well as first meetings; and as much as I and my family miss him, I know he would want us to enjoy Christmas,” the Queen stated.
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“We felt his presence as we, like millions around the world, readied ourselves for Christmas. While COVID again means we can’t celebrate quite as we may have wished, we can still enjoy the many happy traditions. Be it the singing of carols (as long as the tune is well known); decorating the tree; giving and receiving presents; or watching a favourite film where we already know the ending, it’s no surprise that families so often treasure their Christmas routines. We see our own children and their families embrace the roles, traditions and values that mean so much to us, as these are passed from one generation to the next, sometimes being updated for changing times. I see it in my own family and it is
a source of great happiness,” she said.
“Prince Philip was always mindful of this sense of passing the baton,” the Queen added, pointing to his creation of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. “He was also an early champion of taking seriously our stewardship of the environment; and I am proud beyond words that his pioneering work has been taken on and magnified by our eldest son Charles and his eldest son William — admirably supported by Camilla and Catherine — most recently at the COP climate change summit in Glasgow,” she said.
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After referencing the upcoming Commonwealth Games, the Queen looked toward February 2022, which will usher in the beginning of her Platinum Jubilee year, “which I hope will be an opportunity for people everywhere to enjoy a sense of togetherness; a chance to give thanks for the enormous changes of the last seventy years — social, scientific and cultural — and also to look ahead with confidence.”
The Queen concluded by noting that children “teach us all a lesson — just as the Christmas story does — that in the birth of a child, there is a new dawn with endless potential. It is this simplicity of the Christmas story that makes it so universally appealing: simple happenings that formed the starting point of the life of Jesus — a man whose teachings have been handed down from generation to generation, and have been the bedrock of my faith. His birth marked a new beginning. As the carol says, ‘The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.’ I wish you all a very happy Christmas.”