Queen Elizabeth Pays Tribute to Philip in Christmas Day Message
(Bloomberg) -- Queen Elizabeth II gave a personal message in her first televised Christmas Day address since her husband Prince Philip died, saying the United Kingdom can still enjoy the festive season even as a raging pandemic means not celebrating quite as freely.
“Although it’s a time of great happiness and good cheer for many, Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones,” said the British monarch. “This year, especially, I understand why.”
Buckingham Palace earlier released a photo of the 95-year-old taken during the recording session at Windsor Castle earlier this month.
Wearing a woolen shift dress in Christmas red, the queen sat alongside a photo of herself with Philip, who died in April, two months before his 100th birthday. The photograph was taken to mark the couple’s diamond wedding anniversary in 2007. She wore the same sapphire chrysanthemum brooch on that occasion and for Saturday’s address, and during the couple’s honeymoon in 1947.
The queen recalled Prince Philip’s sense of service, intellectual curiosity and capacity to squeeze fun out of any situation as “irrepressible,” as well as his work on environmental issues.
“But life, of course, consists of final partings as well as first meetings; and as much as I and my family miss him, I know he would want us to enjoy Christmas,” she said.
It’s been a year of concern about the health of the queen, the world’s longest-reigning current monarch. She was forced to pull out of several events in the autumn, and had an overnight hospital stay in October.
Her frail health comes against the backdrop of sharply rising coronavirus cases in the U.K. An estimated one in ten Londoners is currently infected with Covid-19.
King George V, the queen’s grandfather, delivered the first Christmas broadcast in 1932.
The Queen, who ascended to the throne in 1952, has been a steady and largely popular figure through the U.K.’s years of political turbulence, including its exit from the European Union, as well as the royal family’s own controversies such as Prince Harry’s departure from official duties.
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