In her annual Christmas Broadcast to citizens of the UK and the Commonwealth, The Queen has paid tribute to the cities of London and Manchester following recent terrorist attacks.
She said that victims, their families and the emergency services “are examples to us all” and recollects on her recent visit to Manchester where she met the injured in hospital.
The 90-year-old monarch also paid tribute to her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, who retired from public duties earlier this year.
When she spoke about her husband of 70 years, Her Majesty mentioned his constant support and “unique sense of humour.”
This year’s broadcast was filmed in the 1844 room at Buckingham Palace earlier this month.
Her Majesty is dressed in an ivory white dress by Angela Kelly. She first wore this item in 2012 during the memorable Diamond Jubilee Thames River Pageant.
As she delivers her message, beside The Queen on her desk are photographs of her family, including Prince George’s birthday photo, and the new images released in November to celebrate her platinum wedding anniversary.
The Queen’s Speech in full:
“60 years ago today, a young woman spoke about the speed of technological change as the presented the first television broadcast of its kind.
“She described the moment as a landmark.”
[A video then plays of The Queen back in 1957 delivering her Christmas address.]
“Six decades on the presenter has evolved somewhat as has the technology she described.
“Back then who could have imagined that people would one day be watching this on laptops and mobile phones as some of you are today.
“But I’m also struck by something that hasn’t changed. Whatever the technology, many of you will be watching this at home.
“We think of our homes as places of warmth, familiarity and love, of shared stories and memories, which is perhaps why at this time of year so many return to where they grew up.
“There is a timeless simplicity to the pull of home. For many, the idea of home reaches beyond a physical building – to a hometown or city.
“This Christmas, I think of London and Manchester, whose powerful identities shone through over the past 12 months in the face of appalling attacks.
“In Manchester, those targeted included children who had gone to see their favourite singer.
“A few days after the bombing, I had the privilege of meeting some of the young survivors and the parents.
“I described that hospital visit as a privilege because the patients I met were an example to us all; showing extraordinary bravery and resilience.
“Indeed many of those who survived the attack came together just days later for a benefit concert. It was a powerful reclaiming of the ground, and the city those young people call home.
“We expect our homes to be a place of safety, sanctuary even, which makes it all the more shocking when the comfort they provide is shattered.
“A few weeks ago, the Prince of Wales visited the Carribean in the aftermath of hurricanes which destroyed entire communities.
“And here in London, who can forget the sheer awfulness of the Grenfell Tower Fire?
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who died and those who lost so much.
“And we are indebted to the members of the emergency services who risked their own lives this past year saving others.
“Many of them, of course, will not be at home today because they are working to protect us.
“Reflecting on these events makes me grateful for the blessings of home and family, and in particular for 70 years of marriage.
“I don’t know that anyone had invented the word platinum for a 70th wedding anniversary when I was born. You weren’t expected to be around that long.
“Even Prince Philip has decided it is time to slow down a little having, as he economically put it, done his bit.
“But I know his support and unique sense of humour will remain as strong as ever as we enjoy spending time this Christmas with our family, and look forward to welcoming new members into it next year.
“In 2018, I will open my home to a different type of family – the leaders of the nations of the 52 Commonwealths as they gather in the UK for a summit.
“The Commonwealth has an inspiring way of bringing people together, be it through the Commonwealth Games, which begin in a few months time on Australia’s Gold Coast. Or though bodies such like the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir – a reminder of how truly vibrant this international family is.
“Today, we celebrate Christmas, which itself is sometimes described as a festival of the home.
“Families travel long distances to be together. Volunteers and charities, as well as many churches, arrange meals for the homeless and for those who would otherwise be alone on Christmas Day.
“We remember the birth of Jesus Christ whose only sanctuary was a stable in Bethlehem. He knew rejection, hardship and persecution, and yet it is Jesus Christ’s generous love and example which has inspired me through good times and bad.
“Whatever your own experiences this year, wherever and however you are watching, I wish you a peaceful and very happy Christmas.”