The Queen’s speech saw the monarch show her sense of humour when she made jokes about Meghan Markle and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge.
The Queen said her family has been keeping her rushed off her feet with numerous high profile weddings, births and announcements. She reflected on the family’s highlights during her broadcast, including the weddings of her grandchildren Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank.
The busy year also included the birth of Prince Louis, Prince William and Kate’s third child in April, as well as another great-grandchild with the birth of Zara and Mike Tindall’s second child Lena in June. Also, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced they are expecting their first child.
The Queen’s eldest son Prince Charles also celebrated his 70th birthday with a marvellous party.
The Queen thanked the army for its dedication and hard work, particularly those stationed overseas on Christmas, speaking in Buckingham Palace’s White Drawing Room surrounded by photographs of her happy family during the milestone events.
“Closer to home, it’s been a busy year for my family, with two weddings and two babies and another child expected soon. It helps to keep a grandmother well occupied. We owe them and all our armed services our deepest gratitude.”-she said.
“We have had other celebrations too, including the 70th birthday of the Prince of Wales.”-she added.
“Through the many changes I have seen over the years, faith, family and friendship have been not only a constant for me but a source of personal comfort and reassurance.”
“At Christmas, we become keenly aware of loved ones who have died, whatever the circumstances. But, of course, we would not grieve if we did not love.”-the Queen offered words of comfort.
Her Majesty also remembered her father, George VI, reflecting on his service with the Royal Navy during the First World War and on the role he played in the early years of the Commonwealth.
Now aged 92, the Queen’s has reigned as monarch for 66 years and she has been married to Prince Phillip for more than seven decades.
“Some cultures believe a long life brings wisdom. I’d like to think so. Perhaps part of that wisdom is to recognize some of life’s baffling paradoxes, such as the way human beings have a huge propensity for good, and yet a capacity for evil. Even the power of faith, which frequently inspires great generosity and self-sacrifice, can fall victim to tribalism.”-the Queen said.
Showing how important family is to her, her majesty sat next to a precious photograph of herself and husband Philip with baby Prince Charles.
Official photographs from Meghan and Harry’s wedding and Princess Eugenie’s wedding, along with a family Christmas card photograph from the Cambridge can be seen sitting in the background.
Prince Charles’ official 70th birthday portrait stood next to the Queen along with an image of her father, George VI.
The Queen hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in April and she noted that eight states attended the first gathering in 1948 and were welcomed by her father.
She also added that today the Commonwealth of Nations consists of 53 member countries with a combined total population of 2.4 billion.
“Its strength lies in the bonds of affection it promotes, and a common desire to live in a better, more peaceful world. Even with the most deeply held differences, treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step towards greater understanding.”-she said.
As head of state, the Queen remains neutral when it comes to political matters and does not express her views on issues.
But some commentators interpret her words about respecting others who hold opposing views as a reference to the toxic mood of the public debate around Britain leaving the EU.
After the footage was shown of a “thrilling” RAF fly-past, celebrating the air force’s centenary by forming the number “100”, the Queen said: “We owe them and all our armed services our deepest gratitude.”
The Queen also acknowledged the sacrifices of the thousands of seamen who died fighting in the First World War Battle of Jutland in 1916 in which her father served as a midshipman.
“The British fleet lost 14 ships and 6,000 men in that engagement. My father wrote in a letter: ‘How and why we were not hit beats me’. Like others, he lost friends in the war.”-she said.
“I believe his message of peace on earth and goodwill to all is never out of date. It can be heeded by everyone; it’s needed as much as ever. A very happy Christmas to you all.”-the Queen concluded her broadcast Jesus’s message. The broadcast ended the way it began, with singing from the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, famous, as the Queen said, for its Nine Lessons and Carols.
They opened the festive broadcast by singing the National Anthem and ended with the carol Once in Royal David’s City.