Queen puts family first in Christmas Day address

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The Independent Online

The Queen is to use her Christmas Day broadcast to emphasise the importance of family, friends and community.

After a year in which the Royal Family has enjoyed a high profile following the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, she will speak of her pride at leading the Commonwealth and the achievements of the past 12 months, which included a first visit to Ireland and the Duke of Edinburgh's 90th birthday.

It is the first time the message has been produced by Sky News and the Queen will be shown talking to member of the satellite channel's staff before she delivers her pre-recorded speech.

"Of course, family does not necessarily mean blood relatives but often a description of a community, organisation or nation. The Commonwealth is a family of 53 nations, all with a common bond, shared beliefs, mutual values and goals," she will say. Meanwhile, the Duchess of Cambridge will spend her first Christmas as a fully paid-up member of the Royal Family at Sandringham in Norfolk where she is expected to be the centre of attention during the morning service at St Mary Magdalene Church on the royal estate.