The Queen has delivered a most moving Christmas message, paying a heartfelt tribute to her “beloved Philip” as she speaks of the comfort she has found in “passing the baton” of their values on to the next generations of their family.
In her first Christmas speech since the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen spoke movingly of her late husband’s “mischievous, enquiring twinkle” and “capacity to squeeze the fun out of any situation.”
This year, she said, she understands especially how hard Christmas can be for those who have lost loved ones, describing life as consisting of “final partings as well as first meetings.”
In her most poignant tribute to her late husband, the Queen said:
“Although it’s a time of great happiness and good cheer for many, Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones. This year, especially, I understand why.
“But for me, in the months since the death of my beloved Philip, I have drawn great comfort from the warmth and affection of the many tributes to his life and work – from around the country, the Commonwealth and the world.
“His sense of service, intellectual curiosity and capacity to squeeze fun out of any situation were all irrepressible. That mischievous, enquiring twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him.
“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. We felt his presence as we, like millions around the world, readied ourselves for Christmas.
“While Covid again means we can’t celebrate quite as we may have wished, we can still enjoy the many happy traditions.”
Of Christmas and family she said:
“We see our own children and their families embrace the roles, traditions and values that mean so much to us, as these are passed from one generation to the next, sometimes being updated for changing times.
“I see it in my own family and it is a source of great happiness. Prince Philip was always mindful of this sense of passing the baton.”
Referencing the “astonishing success” of his Duke of Edinburgh Awards, she added:
“He was also an early champion of taking seriously our stewardship of the environment, and I am proud beyond words that his pioneering work has been taken on and magnified by our eldest son Charles and his eldest son William – admirably supported by Camilla and Catherine – most recently at the Cop climate change summit in Glasgow.”
The Queen also said:
“I am sure someone somewhere today will remark that Christmas is a time for children. It’s an engaging truth, but only half the story.
“Perhaps it’s truer to say that Christmas can speak to the child within us all. Adults, when weighed down with worries, sometimes fail to see the joy in simple things, where children do not.
“And for me and my family, even with one familiar laugh missing this year, there will be joy in Christmas, as we have the chance to reminisce, and see anew the wonder of the festive season through the eyes of our young children, of whom we were delighted to welcome four more this year.
“They teach us all a lesson, just as the Christmas story does, that in the birth of a child, there is a new dawn with endless potential.”
The Queen said looked forward to 2022, and the start of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations in February.
“I hope there will be an opportunity for people everywhere to enjoy a sense of togetherness, a chance to give thanks for the enormous changes of the last 70 years – social, scientific and cultural – and also to look ahead with confidence.”
The Queen is spending Christmas Day in Windsor, where she will be with the Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince Edward and Sophie and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester.