Queen speaks fondly of Prince Philip in moving Christmas Day speech
- Credit: PA
"Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones. This year, especially I understand why" were the moving words from Her Majesty the Queen during her Christmas Day speech.
The Queen, speaking from Windsor Castle poignantly reflected on a year of personal grief saying there was "one familiar laugh missing" as she spoke about the death of her husband Prince Phillip.
Sitting behind a desk adorned with a solitary photograph of the Queen and the duke in 2007 to mark their 60th wedding anniversary, the monarch 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."
The Queen, with a sapphire chrysanthemum brooch worn on her honeymoon in 1947 pinned to her Christmas red Angela Kelly dress, said of the Duke of Edinburgh: "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.
"But life, of course, consists of final partings as well as first meetings.
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"And as much as I and my family miss him, I know he would want us to enjoy Christmas."
Speaking during the nine-minute broadcast the Queen spoke about her four great-grandchildren that have been born during 2021 but there was no mention either on screen or by name to her son Prince Andrew nor the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
However, Her Majesty did speak fondly of her eldest son, Prince Charles and Camila who have joined the Queen at Windsor Castle and of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their focus on climate change.
The head of state, also acknowledged the impact of the Omicron coronavirus variant, as it cancelled her usual trip to Sandringham in Norfolk.
The Queen said: "While Covid again means we can't celebrate quite as we may have wished, we can still enjoy the many happy traditions."
"I am sure someone somewhere today will remark that Christmas is a time for children. It's an engaging truth, but only half the story.
"Perhaps it's truer to say that Christmas can speak to the child within us all.
"Adults, when weighed down with worries, sometimes fail to see the joy in simple things, where children do not.
"And for me and my family, even with one familiar laugh missing this year, there will be joy in Christmas, as we have the chance to reminisce, and see anew the wonder of the festive season through the eyes of our young children, of whom we were delighted to welcome four more this year."
The Queen also spoke about future events during her Christmas Day speech in particular her Platinum Jubilee.
She said: February, just six weeks from now, will see the start of my Platinum Jubilee year, which I hope will be an opportunity for people everywhere to enjoy a sense of togetherness and also to look ahead with confidence."
The Queen finished her speech by wishing everyone "a very happy Christmas".
The Queen, however, did not attend a service at St George's Chapel, which is understood to be a personal choice and follows a precautionary approach seen over the last six months.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall did attend the Christmas Day service and the pair wish a "Happy Christmas" to members of the press as they walked into the chapel.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are spending Christmas in Norfolk and have been joined by some members of the Middleton family.
They attended the Christmas Day morning service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, with their children George, Charlotte and Louis, as well as Kate's parents, Carole and Michael Middleton.
In a statement William and Kate said they are thinking of all those who are spending the festive period alone this year.
They said: "This Christmas will be different to what so many of us had planned. From those who are alone or having to isolate away from loved ones, to the incredible people supporting our NHS and caring for those most in need - we are thinking of you. W & C."