Her Majesty The Queen has delivered her regular Christmas address to the United Kingdom and her Commonwealth allies, reflecting on the radical Islamic terrorism that tore through London and Manchester this year.
Speaking from Buckingham Palace, Her Majesty began by reflecting on her own past 60 years of delivering speeches to the nation at Christmas, and the technological advancements she has witnessed since.
Pivoting to the terrorist atrocities of this year, Her Majesty said:
We think of our homes as places of warmth, familiarity and love; of shared stories and memories, which is perhaps why at this time of year so many return to where they grew up. There is a timeless simplicity to the pull of home.
For many, the idea of “home” reaches beyond a physical building – to a home town or city.
This Christmas, I think of London and Manchester, whose powerful identities shone through over the past twelve months in the face of appalling attacks. In Manchester, those targeted included children who had gone to see their favourite singer. A few days after the bombing, I had the privilege of meeting some of the young survivors and their parents.
I describe that hospital visit as a “privilege” because the patients I met were an example to us all, showing extraordinary bravery and resilience. Indeed, many of those who survived the attack came together just days later for a benefit concert. It was a powerful reclaiming of the ground, and of the city those young people call home.
The British Monarch — who has now reigned for 65 years — also made reference to the Grenfell fire which ripped through a tower block in West London this year, killing 71 people.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who died and those who lost so much; and we are indebted to members of the emergency services who risked their own lives, this past year, saving others. Many of them, of course, will not be at home today because they are working, to protect us.
Penultimately, Her Majesty reiterated that her husband Prince Phillip would be slowing down a bit in terms of public events, as she approaches her 92nd birthday.
Finally, Her Majesty stated of Christmas, and the life of Jesus Christ:
Today we celebrate Christmas, which itself is sometimes described as a festival of the home. Families travel long distances to be together. Volunteers and charities, as well as many churches, arrange meals for the homeless and those who would otherwise be alone on Christmas Day. We remember the birth of Jesus Christ whose only sanctuary was a stable in Bethlehem. He knew rejection, hardship and persecution; and yet it is Jesus Christ’s generous love and example which has inspired me through good times and bad.