Princess Alexandra has told veterans that the past year, despite its many challenges, has shown just how much communities can achieve together.
The Queen’s cousin was speaking as part of a special recorded ‘Starlight’ service, organised by the Royal Star & Garter charity, of which she is President.
Princess Alexandra, who will mark her 84th birthday on Christmas Day, recorded the message as part of a celebration of Christmas that has been shared online by the charity so that people can enjoy a communal festive celebration from the comfort and safety of their own home.
Royal Star & Garter provides care and support for veterans and their partners when they are living with disability or dementia. It has three homes, in Surbiton, Solihull and High Wycombe and usually holds special Christmas ‘Starlight’ services near to them every year. However, the coronavirus pandemic means that those events can’t take place. So an online celebration, including music and readings as well as the special royal message, has been put together and is now available on the organisation’s website.
Princess Alexandra reflects on the past months, saying ”this has been a year of many challenges and our lives have changed in ways we could never have imagined. But it has also been a year that has shown us how much the country and our communities can achieve together”.
The Princess adds ”thank you for everything that you have overcome and for everything that you have achieved to keep each other safe. Your spirit will never have been more tested than during these times but I have no doubt that you have all risen to the challenges as you continue your good work.”
Her message is part of a service which also sees residents from the Royal Star & Garter homes share readings while music comes from pupils at Pipers Corner School in High Wycombe, who sing together over video calls, and children at High Wycombe Church of England School who stood in their playground, at safe social distances from each other, to perform their carol. The Reverend Helen Hancock, from St. Matthew’s Church in Surbiton, shares her reflection while the CEO of Royal Star & Garter, Andy Cole, leads the celebration.
Speaking after the service was put online, Andy Cole said ”Starlight…allows us to remember those residents who are no longer with us at the start of the festive season. It was important that despite all the challenges posed by the pandemic, we are still able to come together virtually.”
The service includes words and subtitles on the screen to help with joining in with the carols and prayers. You can find the special service on this page at the Royal Star & Garter website.