The Queen discusses terror attacks in Christmas message
- The Queen's Christmas message looked at the last year with a 'home' theme
- She praised the 'powerful identities' of cities in the face of terrorist attacks
- She paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh who retired from solo public duties
- The Queen's pre-recorded address from Buckingham Palace was televised
Published: 21:00 EST, 24 December 2017 | Updated: 10:44 EST, 25 December 2017
The Queen praised the resilience of London and Manchester after 'appalling attacks', in a Christmas message that also paid tribute to her husband, Prince Philip, who retired from regular royal duties this year.
The Queen's message to the nation and the Commonwealth looked back over the previous 12 months, taking 'home' as its theme.
The 'powerful identities' of the capital and the northern English city had shone through after militant attacks as well as a devastating fire that destroyed the residential tower block Grenfell Tower in London, the Queen said.
During her televised address to the nation, the Queen praised the 'powerful identities' of London and Manchester that have 'shone through' in the face of terrorist attacks
The 91 year-old monarch, whose televised address is an essential part of a traditional Christmas in Britain, said it had been a privilege to visit victims of the bomb attack at a pop concert in Manchester, as she was able to witness the bravery and resilience of survivors first-hand.
'This Christmas, I think of London and Manchester, whose powerful identities shone through over the past twelve 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 their parents.
'I describe that hospital visit as a 'privilege' because the patients I met were an example to us all, showing extraordinary bravery and resilience.'
The Queen's message to the nation and the Commonwealth looked back over the previous 12 months, taking 'home' as its theme
Visible in the background were portraits of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, Prince Charles and Camilla, as well as the Queen and Prince Philip on their wedding day in 1947 and 70 years later, and photos of their great-grandchildren Prince George and Princess Charlotte
The nation endured a series of devastating terrorist atrocities during the year, beginning with the Westminster Bridge attack in March that saw four pedestrians die when an attacker, later shot dead by police, drove at them before fatally stabbing a police officer.
In Manchester a few months later 22 people – including children – were killed when a lone suicide attacker detonated an explosive device as crowds of music fans left Manchester Arena following a performance by US singer Ariana Grande.
There were more deaths in June when three terrorists in a van ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge then went on a knife rampage in Borough Market, killing eight in total. They were shot dead by police.
On the 60th anniversary of her first televised Christmas address, Elizabeth said her reflections on the year had made her 'grateful for the blessings of home and family', and praised her husband and his 'unique' sense of humour.
The 96-year-old prince, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, has been at the queen's side throughout her 65 years on the throne, and has often grabbed the headlines with his off-colour comments.
The Queen speaks to Amy Barlow, 12, from Rawtenstall, Lancashire, and her mother, Kathy, during a visit to the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital to meet victims of the Manchester terror attack
The Queen speaks with staff as she visits the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital after the Manchester terror attack
Manchester Arena Terror Attack: The Queen speaks to Millie Robson, 15, from Co Durham, and her mother, Marie, during a visit to the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital
The nation endured a series of devastating terrorist atrocities during the year, beginning with the Westminster Bridge attack in March that saw four pedestrians die. Pictured above, emergency services staff provide medical attention close to the Houses of Parliament in London on March 22
In Manchester in May, 22 people were killed when a lone suicide attacker detonated an explosive device as crowds of music fans left Manchester Arena following a performance by US singer Ariana Grande
There were more deaths in June when three terrorists in a van ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge then went on a knife rampage in Borough Market, killing eight in total. Pictured above, people pay their respects on the end of London Bridge with flowers and post it notes
Elizabeth, the world's longest reigning monarch, celebrated her platinum wedding anniversary in November. Philip retired from regular royal duties over the summer having carried out more than 22,000 solo engagements.
'I don't know that anyone had invented the term "platinum" for a 70th wedding anniversary when I was born. You weren't expected to be around that long,' she said.
'Even Prince Philip has decided it's 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.'
Philip has continued to make occasional appearances, and joined other members of the royal family at a Christmas Day church service on their country estate in Sandringham.
Also joining them for the service was Prince Harry's fiancee Meghan Markle who is spending Christmas with the royals – an unprecedented step for someone who is yet to become an official member of the royal family.
The Duchess of Cambridge did not spend Christmas at Sandringham until she and William were man and wife in 2011.
Headline-making events during 2017 include the tragic Grenfell Tower fire, which killed 71 in west London in June
The Queen meets firefighters and paramedics during a visit to the Westway Sports Centre, London, which provided temporary shelter for those who have been made homeless in the Grenfell Tower disaster
The Queen and Prince William meeting members of the local community and emergency services near Grenfell Tower, meeting volunteers
Meghan, who will take British citizenship and get baptised by the Church of England before the wedding, will also attend the Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, a spokesperson has confirmed.
She and Harry, 33, who are now living together in a two-bed cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace, will also take part in the traditional walk to mass by the entire royal family.
The American actress wore a distinctive brown hat as she arrived at the church alongside the Queen's grandson Harry, his elder brother William and his wife Kate.
As they left, both couples briefly chatted to some well-wishers who had gathered to glimpse the royals on Christmas morning.
The Queen, who missed last year's service with a heavy cold, said in her address that she was looking forward to welcoming new members into the royal family next year. As well as Markle, who will marry Harry in May, Kate is expecting a third child.
The royal Christmas broadcast dates back to King George V in 1932 when it was on the radio. It was first televised in 1957.
This year's annual address was produced by Sky News and was recorded in the palace's 1844 room which is decorated with a large tree and features family photos.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's engagement made headlines in November as they announced their marriage plans outside Kensington Palace
Philip, famed for his quips, inquisitive mind and 'no-fuss' attitude, stood down from his solo public role in August, although he has made the occasional appearance at events involving the Queen. They're pictured above travelling to Sandringham on December 21
Pictures of the Queen's great grandchildren, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, can be seen, along with two wedding related images of the Queen and Philip – but taken 70 years apart.
The royal couple are featured in a black and white image from their 1947 wedding, and in a colour photo released to mark their 70th wedding anniversary celebrated in November.
In the broadcast the Queen wore an ivory white dress by Angela Kelly, an outfit she first wore with a matching coat and hat for the Diamond Jubilee Thames River Pageant in 2012. She also wore a star-shaped diamond brooch.
The Queen joked that she had 'evolved' since her first televised Christmas message 60 years ago in 1957, alongside archive footage of the speech.
'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.'
25th December 1957: Queen Elizabeth gives her first Christmas Day television speech to her nation
25th December 1957: Queen Elizabeth gives her first Christmas Day television speech to her nation
The Queen's speech in full
Sixty years ago today, a young woman spoke about the speed of technological change as she presented the first television broadcast of its kind. She described the moment as a landmark.
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. That, 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 home town or city. This Christmas, I think of London and Manchester, whose powerful identities shone through over the past twelve 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 their parents.
I describe 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 of 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 Caribbean in the aftermath of hurricanes that 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 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 term 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's 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 fifty-two nations of the Commonwealth, 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 through bodies like the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra & 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 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.
The Queen pays tribute to her family as she poses next to photos of her and Prince Philip and her great-grandchildren during her 60th festive speech
The Queen paid tribute to the Royal Family during her 60th Christmas speech as she posed next to photos of her and Prince Philip and her great-grandchildren in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace.
The couple featured in a black and white image from their 1947 wedding, and in a colour photo released to mark their 70th wedding anniversary celebrated in November.
Pictured left to right: The Queen and Prince Philip on their wedding day in 1947; the royal couple on their 70th wedding anniversary this year; Princess Charlotte's official second birthday portrait; Prince George's official fourth birthday portrait
Taken by photographer Chris Jackson, the portrait of Prince George was issued by Kensington Palace on July 22nd to mark the youngster's fourth birthday.
Commenting on the portrait at the time, Jackson, who is married to Kate's personal assistant Natasha Archer, said he was 'thrilled and honoured' to have been asked to take the picture.
He added: 'He is such a happy boy and certainly injects some fun into a photoshoot.'
The photo of Charlotte, meanwhile, was taken by her mother the Duchess of Cambridge to mark her second birthday on May 2nd.
The Queen and Prince Philip feature in a black and white image from their 1947 wedding
In the portrait, taken in April, Charlotte can be seen wearing a traditional Fair Isle cardigan in baby blue and yellow from John Lewis that had sold out before the photo was released with a slightly crumpled Peter Pan collar, £12, from Jojo Maman Bébé poking out of the top.
During the speech, her Majesty wore an ivory dress threaded throughout with silk ribbon. Embroidered with gold, silver and ivory spots, the dress is embellished with Swarovski crystals and a silk organza frill.
The Queen first wore the dress, designed by Angela Kelly, on June 3rd 2012, for the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant.
Photographs of the Queen's great-grandchildren, Prince George (left) and Princess Charlotte (right), will also be on display
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