Queen's Christmas speech 2014 to praise 'selfless' Ebola medics in message of 'reconciliation'

Annual message will also highlight Tower of London poppy installation

The Queen will today praise the “selflessness” of medics fighting Ebola in countries affected by the deadly virus in her Christmas Day speech.

The UK is one of a number of nations that has seen its doctors and nurses volunteer to help countries such as Sierra Leone in West Africa combat the epidemic.

The medical staff, and those who provide humanitarian relief in warzones, will be praised by the Queen in her annual address to the nation.

The theme of this year's Christmas broadcast is reconciliation and the head of state will say: "I have been deeply touched this year by the selflessness of aid workers and medical volunteers who have gone abroad to help victims of conflict or of diseases like Ebola, often at great personal risk."

The Queen will also highlight the events that took place this year to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

She will mark one moving tribute to the fallen, the 888,246 ceramic poppies, one for each British and Colonial death, planted in the moat at the Tower of London earlier this year.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visited Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red in October, and walked through the art installation created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins.

In her annual address, she will say about the hugely popular attraction: "The ceramic poppies at the Tower of London drew millions, and the only possible reaction to walking among them was silence.

"For every poppy, a life; and a reminder of the grief of loved ones left behind."

The Royal Family will mark Christmas Day by attending a traditional church service later.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will lead their family to church near King's Lynn in Norfolk and among those attending are expected to be the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The message, which was recorded a month ago at Buckingham Palace and produced by the BBC, will be broadcast on both television and radio at 3pm today.

It will be available on the Royal Channel on the YouTube website and will also be shown in Commonwealth countries.

Additional reporting by PA