The Queen delivered her annual Christmas Day speech this afternoon, and as expected, the British monarch focused on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
In an emotional message, the 94-year-old noted how Christmas will be different for many this year, including herself and Prince Phillip.
For the first time in 30 years, the couple are celebrating Christmas away from their family at Windsor Castle, as coronavirus cases continue to rise in the UK.
The Queen said: “Of course, for many, this time of year will be tinged with sadness…”
“Some mourning the loss of those dear to them, and others missing friends and family members distanced for safety, when all they’d really want for Christmas is a simple hug or a squeeze of the hand.”
“If you are among them, you are not alone, and let me assure you of my thoughts and prayers,” she continued.
“The Bible tells how a star appeared in the sky, its light guiding the shepherds and wise men to the scene of Jesus’s birth. Let the light of Christmas – the spirit of selflessness, love and above all hope – guide us in the times ahead.”
The Queen also praised those who helped people in need this year.
She said: “Remarkably, a year that has necessarily kept people apart has, in many ways, brought us closer.”
“Across the Commonwealth, my family and I have been inspired by stories of people volunteering in their communities, helping those in need.”
“In the United Kingdom and around the world, people have risen magnificently to the challenges of the year, and I am so proud and moved by this quiet, indomitable spirit.
“To our young people in particular I say thank you for the part you have played. This year, we celebrated International Nurses’ Day, on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.”
“As with other nursing pioneers like Mary Seacole, Florence Nightingale shone a lamp of hope across the world,” she said.
“Today, our frontline services still shine that lamp for us – supported by the amazing achievements of modern science – and we owe them a debt of gratitude.
“We continue to be inspired by the kindness of strangers and draw comfort that – even on the darkest nights – there is hope in the new dawn.”
The Queen’s speech, which was pre-recorded at Windsor Castle, concluded with the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir performing the carol Joy to the World.