Queen Elizabeth got personal and candid in her Christmas Speech, which aired on Saturday, December 25, at 3 p.m. GMT in the U.K.
“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 began, referring to the loss of her husband, Prince Philip, who died in April at 99 years old.
“But for me, in the months since the death of my beloved Philip, I have 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," she continued. “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."
The 95-year-old noted that even though he is no longer here, the late Duke "would want us to enjoy Christmas."
“We felt his presence as we, like millions around the world, readied ourselves for Christmas," she said. “While COVID again means we can’t celebrate quite as we may have wished, we can still enjoy the many happy traditions. Be it the singing of carols – as long as the tune is well known – decorating the tree, giving and receiving presents, or watching a favorite film where we already know the ending, it’s no surprise that families so often treasure their Christmas routines."
“We see our own children and their families embrace the roles, traditions and values that mean so much to us, as these are passed from one generation to the next, sometimes being updated for changing times," she continued. “I see it in my own family and it is a source of great happiness. Prince Philip was always mindful of this sense of passing the baton. That’s why he created The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which offers young people throughout the Commonwealth and beyond the chance of exploration and adventure. It remains an astonishing success, grounded in his faith in the future. He was also an early champion of taking seriously our stewardship of the environment, and I am proud beyond words that his pioneering work has been taken on and magnified by our eldest son Charles and his eldest son William – admirably supported by Camilla and Catherine – most recently at the COP climate change summit in Glasgow."
Despite the ups and downs, the Queen is looking forward to the "Commonwealth Games" next summer.
“The baton is currently traveling the length and breadth of the Commonwealth, heading towards Birmingham, a beacon of hope on its journey," she shared. “It will be a chance to celebrate the achievements of athletes and the coming-together of like-minded nations. And 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, 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."
Ultimately, the matriarch is trying to think positively. “Adults, when weighed down with worries, sometimes fail to see the joy in simple things, where children do not," she said. “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. They teach us all a lesson – just as the Christmas story does – that in the birth of a child, there is a new dawn with endless potential. It is this simplicity of the Christmas story that makes it so universally appealing, simple happenings that formed the starting point of the life of Jesus — a man whose teachings have been handed down from generation to generation, and have been the bedrock of my faith."
“His birth marked a new beginning," she concluded. “As the carol says: ‘The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.’ I wish you all a very happy Christmas.”
Queen Elizabeth failed to mention Prince Andrew, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry in her nine-minute speech.