Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II used her Christmas address Friday to highlight the triumph of good over evil after a string of attacks in 2015, and to draw attention to the plight of refugees.
She delivered her pre-recorded message at Buckingham Palace, wearing a white and silver dress and while sat at a desk with a Christmas tree in the background.
“It is true that the world has had to confront moments of darkness this year, but the Gospel of John contains a verse of great hope, often read at Christmas carol services: ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’,” she said.
A total of 130 people were killed in November 13 attacks in Paris, while this year has also seen a string of mass casualty attacks in countries including Nigeria, Syria and Iraq.
The 89-year-old monarch’s message also touched on the plight of refugees by recounting the story of Jesus’ birth.
“For Joseph and Mary, the circumstances of Jesus’ birth — in a stable — were far from ideal, but worse was to come as the family was forced to flee the country,” she said.
“It’s no surprise that such a human story still captures our imagination and continues to inspire all of us who are Christians, the world over.”
More than a million refugees and migrants reached Europe after fleeing war and poverty in 2015.
The queen also alluded to 90th birthday celebrations planned for her next year, saying: “I have been warned I may have Happy Birthday sung to me more than once or twice.”
Noting another anniversary, she paid tribute to those who fought during World War II following commemorations marking 70 years since the end of the conflict this year.
For millions of British families, gathering around the television after Christmas lunch to watch the queen’s speech is as much of a festive tradition as turkey, crackers and presents.
She was shown at a desk adorned with three photographs, one of which shows her grandson Prince William, wife Kate and their two children, George and Charlotte, at the seven-month-old girl’s christening in July.
The other two pictures show Prince Charles and wife Camilla on their wedding day in 2005, and the queen herself and husband Prince Philip leaning on walking sticks and laughing.
The British royal family’s first Christmas message was delivered in 1932 by the queen’s grandfather, king George V, and was written by author Rudyard Kipling.
The queen delivered her first Christmas message in 1952 and has done so every year since, apart from in 1969, when a repeat of a documentary about the royal family was shown instead.