Christmas message: Queen reflects on year of Prince George's birth

The Queen's Christmas Broadcast 2013

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The Queen has reflected on the birth of her great-grandson Prince George in her traditional Christmas Day broadcast.

She said the arrival of a new baby gave people the chance to think about the future with "renewed hope".

And she had a message for new parents, saying that for them "life will never be the same again".

The Queen also talked about the 60th anniversary of her coronation, the role of the Commonwealth and next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

The message, broadcast on both television and radio, was recorded earlier this month at Buckingham Palace, in the blue drawing room.

'Take stock'

Sitting at a desk, in front of family photographs, the Queen said: "Here at home my own family is a little larger this Christmas. As so many of you will know, the arrival of a baby gives everyone the chance to contemplate the future with renewed happiness and hope."

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were among members of the Royal Family at church for the first of two services

The broadcast included behind-the-scenes footage of the photoshoot at Clarence House that marked the christening of the infant prince under the direction of celebrity portrait photographer Jason Bell.

The son of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge was christened in October at the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

Later that day a historic picture of four generations of the Royal Family - the Queen, Prince of Wales, Princes William and George - was taken to mark the baby's christening.

The Queen added: "As with all who are christened, George was baptised into a joyful faith of Christian duty and service. After the christening, we gathered for the traditional photograph. It was a happy occasion."

The Queen also talked about the need for reflection generally and said: "We all need to get the balance right between action and reflection.

"With so many distractions, it is easy to forget to pause and take stock."

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at Prince George's Christening Behind-the-scenes footage of Prince George's christening was broadcast
Christmas service

She also recalled the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the day she was crowned Queen, in June.

"The anniversary reminded me of the remarkable changes that have occurred since the coronation, many of them for the better, and of the things that have remained constant, such as the importance of family, friendship and good neighbourliness," she recalled.

She also paid tribute to members of the armed forces who are not with their families at Christmas, saying: "We are forever grateful to all those who put themselves at risk to keep us safe."

And she looked ahead to 2014, when Glasgow will be staging the Commonwealth Games.

The Games baton is currently on its way around the 70 competing nations and territories having left London in October and she says: "Its journey is a reminder that the Commonwealth can offer us a fresh view of life."

The Queen started Christmas Day by attending the traditional service at church in Sandringham, near the royal estate where she and members of the Royal Family have come together.

The Queen receives a bunch of flowers from a child after the service The Queen receives a bunch of flowers from a child after the Christmas morning service at Sandringham
Queen's gown

The Christmas address is written by the Queen - one of the few occasions when she can air her own views with no input from the government.

It usually has a strong religious framework, reflects current issues and draws on her own experiences over the year.

This year's message was produced by the BBC and was shown in Commonwealth countries around the world.

The Queen's gown, a single crepe wool primrose dress which she wore to William and Kate's wedding in April 2011, was designed by Angela Kelly.

On her left shoulder is a diamond, ruby and sapphire brooch, a present from her parents to celebrate the birth of Prince Charles in 1948, which she wore at George's christening.

The message is being made available on the Royal Channel on YouTube after transmission.

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