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In her most personal speech yet, she noted a “familiar laugh” missing this Christmas and said: “That mischievous, inquiring twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him.” She paid tribute to her “irrepressible” husband of 73 years, who died aged 99 in April, but added: “I know he would want us to enjoy Christmas.” In a message of hope, Her Majesty, 95, also urged millions of TV viewers to “look ahead with confidence”.
Planked by a photograph of herself and the Duke of Edinburgh marking their 60th wedding anniversary in 2007, she said: “For me and my family, even with one familiar laugh missing this year, there will be joy in Christmas.”
Wearing a sapphire chrysanthemum brooch she wore on her honeymoon in 1947 pinned to her red Angela Kelly dress, the Queen said: “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.”
She said of Philip: “His sense of service, intellectual curiosity and capacity to squeeze fun out of any situation were all irrepressible.
“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.
“We felt his presence as we, like millions around the world, readied ourselves for Christmas.” Her Majesty also said she was “proud beyond words” that Philip’s pioneering environmental work had been “taken on and magnified” by son Charles, 73, and grandson William, 39.
She said in the months since Philip’s death, she had 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”.
Philip, she said, was “always mindful of this sense of passing the baton” and his Duke of Edinburgh’s Award “remains an astonishing success, grounded in his faith in the future”.
The Queen outlined a busy calendar of events next year, including the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
And she said she hoped her Platinum Jubilee year would be an opportunity for people “to enjoy a sense of togetherness, a chance to give thanks for the enormous changes of the last 70 years – social, scientific and cultural – and also to look ahead with confidence”. Welcoming four new royal babies this year, she said rather than Christmas being a time for children, “perhaps it’s truer to say that Christmas can speak to the child within us all”.
She said: “Adults, when weighed down with worries, sometimes fail to see the joy in simple things, where children do not.”
Her Majesty described the life and teachings of Jesus as “the bedrock of my faith”, adding: “His birth marked a new beginning. As the carol says, ‘The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight’.” The Queen’s absence at yesterday’s church service at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, Berks, was said to be a personal choice, following a precautionary approach seen over the last six months.
Choosing to cancel Christmas at her Sandringham estate in Norfolk this year, she was joined for lunch by Charles, Camilla, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
Princess Anne did not attend after her husband, Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, tested positive for Covid,
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge yesterday shared a special message to “those who are alone or having to isolate away from loved ones”.
They spent Christmas at their Norfolk home, Anmer Hall, where Kate’s family joined them.
Signing off on Twitter with the initials W&C, they also paid tribute to “the incredible people supporting our NHS and caring for those most in need”, adding: “We are thinking of you.”
The couple and their three children – George, eight, Charlotte, six, and Louis, three – attended the Christmas morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham.
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