Queen's Christmas Day speech to focus on family

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Media captionWatch the Queen's Christmas message in full

The Queen will highlight the importance of the family unit in her pre-recorded Christmas Day broadcast to the nation.

The speech reflects on a year in which her grandson Prince William got married and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, turned 90.

It was filmed on 9 December, before Prince Philip was treated for a blocked coronary artery in hospital.

The great-grandmother also talks about the Commonwealth's "family", with its "shared beliefs" and "mutual values".

The 85-year-old monarch presided over a major meeting of Commonwealth leaders in Perth, Australia in October.

"Of course, family does not necessarily mean blood relatives but often a description of a community, organisation or nation," she will say.

"The Commonwealth is a family of 53 nations, all with a common bond, shared beliefs, mutual values and goals."

The Queen, who heads the institution, will visit several member states next year as part of Diamond Jubilee celebrations marking 60 years on the throne.

Royal wedding

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

It has been an eventful year for the monarch.

In April, Prince William married Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey, the couple becoming the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Image caption Children from a school in London are seen performing a nativity play in the broadcast

The next month she visited the Republic of Ireland for the first time, then in June her husband Prince Phillip celebrated his 90th birthday.

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.

The message will be transmitted on TV and radio at 1500 GMT on Christmas Day and on the Royal Channel on the YouTube website.

Meanwhile, the Duchess of Cambridge is at Sandringham in Norfolk where she is spending her first Christmas as a member of the Royal Family.

On Christmas Day, she will join other members of the family for the tradition morning service at St Mary Magdalene Church on the royal estate.

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