Prince Charles pays tribute to armed forces in Christmas message
Prince Charles has paid tribute to the "personal sacrifice" of Britain's servicemen and women in a Christmas message to the armed forces.
Speaking to Forces TV and BFBS Radio, he praised their "professionalism" and "cultural sensitivity".
He spoke of his admiration for those who face "great danger" to protect the country.
Almost 23,000 military personnel have been stationed or deployed abroad over Christmas.
There are almost 14,000 across Europe - including just over 3,000 in Cyprus - 1,170 across North Africa and the Middle East and about 1,000 in the Falklands.
About 870 are involved in the campaign to counter so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
The Prince of Wales said service personnel would face many tasks over the festive period, some of which would "put our service people in great danger as they carry out their challenging duties".
He said: "I am delighted to have this opportunity to send you all a Christmas message, for while many of the current news headlines around the world appear rather grim, they have reminded us all of the vital importance of the armed forces.
"Sometimes it would appear that there is no real threat facing Britain and that therefore defence can perhaps seem somewhat irrelevant.
"However, the extent of current global deployments of the UK's armed forces only goes to highlight the continued, essential role of the armed forces in today's society."