Queen's Christmas message urges serving others
Her Majesty recalls 'strength of fellowship and friendship' in 2012
Posted: Dec 25, 2012 10:00 AM ET
Last Updated: Dec 25, 2012 10:04 AM ET
Queen Elizabeth's Christmas message urges carrying on the spirit of togetherness and friendship captured in 2012 by the London Summer Olympics and Diamond Jubilee celebrations, and reaching out beyond "familiar relationships" to serve others.
The past year featured many celebratory moments and events, said the Queen, wearing an off-white, long-sleeved dress splashed with a silvery-grey pattern.
During Diamond Jubilee celebrations marking her 60 years on the throne, "people of all ages took the trouble to take part in various ways and in many nations, but perhaps most striking of all was to witness the strength of fellowship and friendship among those who had gathered together on these occasions," the 86-year-old monarch said in a broadcast aired worldwide on TV and radio at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday, and available online through the Royal Family's YouTube channel.The Queen, Prince Philip, left, the Duchess of Cornwall, second right, and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, travel aboard the royal barge during the Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the Thames last June, an event recalled by the Queen in her Christmas address. (John Stillwell/Pool/Associated Press)
As she spoke about the jubilee, a video showed the Queen, Prince Philip, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and other Royal Family members aboard The Spirit of Chartwell last June, as 1,000 boats saluted the royal barge in the Thames River and huge crowds cheered.
"That same spirit was also in evidence from the moment the Olympic flame arrived on these shores," the Queen said in the speech, recorded earlier this month in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace.
At the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics, held in London for the first time since 1948, a video showed James Bond, played by Daniel Craig, arriving at Buckingham Palace to escort the Queen to the ceremony, and then a stunt double playing the monarch skydiving out of a helicopter to make her big arrival at the Games.
In her televised Christmas speech, as a video showed a spectacular fireworks display and the British team marching into the stadium, the Queen said "the flame itself drew hundreds and thousands of people on its journey around the British Isles, and was carried by every kind of deserving individual, many nominated for their own extraordinary service.
"We were reminded too that the success of these great festivals depended to an enormous degree to a dedication and effort of an army of volunteers," she said.
Urges people to give 'best of themselves'
Christmas is a time for coming together for many people, the Queen said, but noted that those in the Armed Forces, emergency services and hospitals will be away from family and friends, and that many people may have lost loved ones.
"That's why it's important at this time of year to reach out beyond our familiar relationships to think of those who are on their own," she said.
"This is the time of year when we remember that God sent his only Son to serve, not to be served. He restored love and service to the centre of our lives in the person of Jesus Christ. It is my prayer this Christmas Day that his example and teaching will continue to bring people together to give the best of themselves in the service of others."
In closing, the Queen notes words in the Christmas carol In the Bleak Midwinter that ask, "What can I give Him, poor as I am?" referring to the Christ child, and the response, "Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart." The carol, based on a poem by the English poet Christina Rossetti, is then sung by the Military Wives Choir in the opulent Ballroom at Buckingham Palace.
The Queen's annual Christmas broadcast has been a tradition on radio since 1952, and on TV since 1957. The Queen writes the speeches herself, one of the few occasions she voices her own opinion without government consultation. For the first time, on Tuesday, the message was broadcast in 3D.
William, Kate spending day with her family
The Queen's Christmas speech a year ago focused on family, in a year heralded by the marriage of her grandson, Prince William, to Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey. However, in her 2012 remarks, recorded Dec. 7, the Queen made no mention of individuals in her own family, despite the fact the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their first baby at some point in the spring or early summer.
Also on Christmas Day, the Royal Family attended church services, with a few notable absences.
Wearing a turquoise coat and matching hat, the Queen arrived at St. Mary Magdelene Church on her sprawling Sandringham estate in Norfolk. She was accompanied in a Bentley by granddaughters Beatrice and Eugenie. Prince Philip walked from the house to the church with other members of the Royal Family.
The Duke of Cambridge is spending the holiday with his wife, Kate, and his in-laws in the southern England village of Bucklebury. Prince Harry is serving with British troops in Afghanistan.With files from The Associated Press
Latest Ottawa News Headlines
- Impact of LRT roadwork to be felt today
- The first visible sign of Ottawa's ambitious five-year light rail transit line construction begins this week as crews work at Nicholas Street in preparation for the excavation of an underground train tunnel. more »
- Harper to address Tory caucus amid Senate scandal
- Conservatives gathered Monday night to mourn the passing of a key architect in their rise to power — and to brace for the toughest test Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government has faced since taking office on a promise to clean up politics in the national capital. more »
- La Peche, Que., man drowns Monday
- A 73-year-old La Pêche, Que., man drowned Monday after falling into a creek near his home. more »
- Horwath to decide whether to back Ontario Liberal budget
- Ontario voters may get some indication today from NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on whether the province is headed for a spring election. more »
Top News Headlines
- Oklahoma tornado recovery work begins after dozens killed
- Rescue teams searched through the night looking for survivors after dozens of people were killed in a tornado that flattened homes and two schools in an Oklahoma City suburb. WATCH LIVE: U.S. President Obama is scheduled to speak at 10 a.m. ET about the massive tornado. more »
- Will alleged Rob Ford video overshadow Toronto casino debate?
- A debate about a proposed downtown casino is supposed to take centre stage at Toronto City Hall on Tuesday, but it seems a safe bet that a still-unseen video of Mayor Rob Ford will continue to be a topic of conversation. more »
- Harper to address Tory caucus amid Senate scandal
- Keith Boag: Have you heard about the murderous abortion doctor?
- The gruesome trial and murder conviction of Philadelphia abortion provider Dr. Kermit Gosnell is unlikely to change American abortion law, Keith Boag writes. But it has U.S. journalists questioning their priorities and how they cover such a sensitive issue. more »
- Fearful Oklahoma families search for children
- The parents and guardians stood in the muddy grass outside a suburban Oklahoma City church, listening intently as someone with a bullhorn called out the names of children who were being dropped off — survivors of Monday's deadly tornado. more »
- Driver dead after Regional Road 174 rollover
- Fire destroys 100-year-old barn near Kemptville, Ont.
- Bagpiper finds extremely rare instrument at auction
- Man charged with attempted murder after Orleans stabbing
- 2 earthquakes felt in Ontario and Quebec
- NDP wants RCMP inquiry into $90K payment to Duffy
- Teen rugby player dies after suffering head injury in game
- Petition looks to rename Victoria Day
- Gatineau officer shot her own leg, police say