Queen speaks of hope in 2011 Christmas Day message


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The Queen has used her annual Christmas Day broadcast to speak of courage and hope in adversity.

The message was recorded before her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, was treated in hospital for a blocked coronary artery.

Prince Philip is still in hospital, and has missed a church service attended by the rest of the Royal Family.

The Queen also spoke of "the importance of family", and called the Commonwealth a family "in the truest sense".

In her message, recorded on 9 December, the Queen said the Royal Family had been inspired by the courage shown in Britain, the Commonwealth and around the world.

'Source of courage'

She noted the resilience of communities in New Zealand after earthquakes, Australia after flooding and Wales after the mining disaster at Gleision Colliery.

The Royal Family including, for the first time, the Duchess of Cambridge, greeted well-wishers outside church

"We've seen that it's in hardship that we often find strength from our families; it's in adversity that new friendships are sometimes formed; and it's in a crisis that communities break down barriers and bind together to help one another," she said.

"Families, friends and communities often find a source of courage rising up from within.

"Indeed, sadly, it seems that it is tragedy that often draws out the most and the best from the human spirit."

The Queen, who is a great-grandmother, also talked about the Commonwealth's "family", with its "shared beliefs" and "mutual values".

She also reflected on her own family, in a year in which her grandson Prince William got married and Prince Philip turned 90.

Prayers said

The prince had a coronary stent fitted after suffering chest pains on Friday. He spent Christmas Eve - and so far Christmas Day - at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire.

Earlier, prayers were said for the prince during the Royal Family's traditional Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church on the family's Sandringham estate.

Prince Philip Prince Philip turned 90 in June

Afterwards, the royals - including, for the first time, the Duchess of Cambridge - greeted well-wishers. The Queen attended the service, along with the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry, and the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips with her husband Mike Tindall, whom she married earlier this year.

Family members are going to visit the duke, who is said to be eager to leave hospital, later.

In the Queen's message, footage of the wedding of her granddaughter Zara Phillips to Mike Tindall and Prince William's marriage to Kate Middleton was played as she spoke of her own family.

"The importance of family has, of course, come home to Prince Philip and me personally this year with the marriages of two of our grandchildren, each in their own way a celebration of the God-given love that binds a family together," she said.

She spoke of the importance of forgiveness and said the world was "going through difficult times".

"Finding hope in adversity is one of the themes of Christmas," she said.

"Jesus was born into a world full of fear. The angels came to frightened shepherds with hope in their voices: 'Fear not', they urged, 'we bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people'."

The monarch also said: "Although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves - from our recklessness or our greed."

Penned speech
The Queen attends a Christmas Day church service

The Christmas address is written by the Queen herself - one of the rare occasions where she does not turn to the government for advice.

The broadcast, in which the Queen wore glasses and a strawberry red dress by Angela Kelly, was filmed in Buckingham Palace's 1844 room.

Pupils from St Joseph's Catholic Infants' School in Camberwell, south London, are seen performing a scene from a nativity play.

It concludes on the palace forecourt with the Band of the Irish Guards playing the carol O Little Town of Bethlehem.


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  • Comment number 80.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    I feel the Queen does a wonderful job of being our Head of Common-
    wealth, Iam an Australia and also a Monachist, Also as a Christian I recognise the speach as being perfect for the year that we have all endured. Thankyou Queen Elizabeth. God save the Queen. And also I pray that Prince Phillip will heal fully to continue with his duties (modified) in the future. God be with both of you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    Seriously perhaps my family and my grandparents have been too old school BUT they have brought me up on the troubles and strife of the World Wars and to respect the Royal Family. Not interested in Politics or Government rhetoric. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN LONG LIVE THE QUEEN. Sorry but its just as simple as that and not to be confused with idiotic politicians....

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    If the Commonwealth nations are supposed to be 'family' isn't it odd that British State Pensions are non-indexed in those countries meaning many old people are left to freeze and starve unless their adopted country picks up the tab to keep them warm and fed - no-one in Britain apparently considers this their responsibility. Funny idea of 'family' if you ask me - and the half million of them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    I admire our queen, HM Elizabeth II for her outstanding work, and few people truely appreciate the work she puts in to keeping Great Britain - Great. Not only that, but she is also the monarch of over 50 nations arround the world, and one of the most dedicated people to their job. God Save our Queen. I'm proud to be British, and I respect our distant family in the commonwealth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    @Frank, fair comment but you're missing the point a bit. I agree that too much Government machinery is bad if not correctly implemented, but the fundamental problem with our current system is that it just isn't properly democratic. The old absolute powers of the Monarch rest with the Cabinet and Privy Council, which can basically do what it likes. The Iraq War fiasco was a prime example of this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.


    "Politicians come & go: as do the seasons & leave no real imprint on our consciousness. Feckless dross."

    I suppose you'd include Churchill, Attlee, Wilson, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Reagan, de Gaulle, Thatcher, Blair in that sweeping generalisation? Yep, definitely no real imprints on the consciences or social fabrics of their countries, eh? Go read some books & learn to think freely sir...

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    By occupying the position of head of state, the Queen saves us the bother of attempting to put a suitable political appointee in place.

    Similarly a house of parliament that houses the wise rather than the mere politically ambitious is an excellent protection against the twists and turns of the whims of political fashion.

    Change does not guarantee improvement.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    @Justin: our modern country (with political & religious freedom, universal education, emancipation of women, scientific and social progress) was "built" BY ITS PEOPLE DESPITE monarchism & "Christian Faith" -which justified innumerable wars and enabled colonisation, exploitation, the Northern Ireland conflict, hate crimes against gay people, I could go on. If so proud of the UK, why live in Spain?

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    @Rob Wilkinson, I'm kind of bored with that ex-squaddie-turned-truck-driver-on-a-radio-phone-in argument about "Yeah, but we don't want a President Blair or Thatcher, do we?" I've heard it from so many people now that I guarantee that in a ballot, neither of them would win (Mrs T's a bit over the hill anyway...) That's democracy, you can VOTE - but if you don't, you get the leaders you deserve.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    Bless her expensive cotton socks. Nice words & lots of warm fuzzy Daily Mail-reader-pleasers - but really, having a monarch and an unwritten constitution is a tad embarrassing these days when we're going around trying to "persuade" Afghanis and others that feudalism is A Bad Thing and that democracy & the rule of law (qv Prince Charles little governmental "interventions") are great British values

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    As a Brit living in spain i am still very proud of the Uk and our past as a nation. Our country has been built on the christian faith and its great to hear the Queen confirm that this is one of the core facts that keeps our nation what it is today. We are a nation that accepts all faiths and peoples from around the world and the commonwealth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    A wonderfully sensitive address, focusing on the true meaning of Christmas. A joy to listen to. Thank you.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    "The Queen, who is a great-grandmother, also talked about the Commonwealth's "family", with its "shared beliefs" and "mutual values"."

    A family where 3/4 of its members have the belief that homosexuality should be illegal. If she had referred to this I might have re-considered my opinion that it is an antiquated,cosy ritual aimed at supporting the privileged in their belief they are right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    Say what you want about hereditary priviledge. I know that I prefer having the Queen as head of state to a President Blair or President Thatcher!

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    This message showed a great understanding of what helps us through the hard times in life and reminds us that family IS the most important thing, being the building block of our society.

    It was also brilliant to hear something of the christmas story and know what this celebration is all about. The coming of the son of God.

    Thank you your Majesty

  • rate this

    Comment number 64.

    I believe that British Queen's law in the Great Britain of United Kingdom means England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It has a legacy of British colonial rule in the commonwealth in Canada, New Zealand, Australia. non-legacy of British colonial rule in America. Future new king Willie and Queen Katie of British monarchy of the Great Britain of United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    As a 21 year old I would just like to add that it was good for once to see someone have the guts and the conviction to mention something about Christ at Christ mas.

    My regret is that that was the best sermon I've had all week. But the message she told has been sent to every tv in the common wealth and beyond.

    Descend to us we pray.

    Cast out our sin

    And enter in.

    Be born in us today.

  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    SonofSyd> Scrap the monarchy? & replace it with what? A nothing-ness of a void..a black hole. You & your ilk see nothing & understand less.
    For all its faults the Monarchy is good for the UK & the Commonwealth. Without it, millions would lose a focal point of stability,of sense & of purpose.
    Politicians come & go: as do the seasons & leave no real imprint on our consciousness. Feckless dross.

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    I thought the queen was going to raise core family issues; like high rate of divorce and same-sex/hetrosexual marriage. Her age, experience, beliefs and words has got some influence around the world and I waited for her (marriage) counselling.


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