Minor British Institutions: The Queen's Christmas message

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The Independent Online

"The message of Christmas remains the same," said the Queen in her 1963 message to her subjects. Indeed so. Almost all of the sentiments expressed by Her Majesty in her annual address are timeless and interchangeable.

After a quick résumé of Commonwealth and family events we get to the homily designed to foster well-being and aid digestion: "At this time our concern is particularly for the lonely, the sick and the elderly" (1969); "If you throw a stone into a pool, the ripples go on spreading outwards. A big stone can cause waves, but even the smallest pebble changes the whole pattern of the water. Our daily actions are like those ripples, each one makes a difference, even the smallest" (1975). "When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future" (2008). "I wish you all a very happy Christmas and I hope that we shall all try to make some good news in the coming year" (1985).