Queen Christmas Day message: Monarch laments Manchester and London terror attacks, and 'sheer awfulness' of Grenfell fire

'This Christmas, I think of London and Manchester, whose powerful identities shone through over the past 12 months in the face of appalling attacks'

Maya Oppenheim
Monday 25 December 2017 10:06
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The Queen's Christmas message 2017 stresses the importance of home and community

The Queen used her Christmas message to pay tribute to Manchester terror attack survivors and those killed in the catastrophic Grenfell Tower blaze.

The monarch looked back at 2017 in her televised address and hail her experience of meeting the survivors of the Manchester attack, which killed 23 in May, as a “privilege”.

The 91-year-old heaped praise on the emergency service workers who risked their lives to save others during the Manchester attack.

”I describe that hospital visit as a 'privilege' because the patients I met were an example to us all, showing extraordinary bravery and resilience," she said.

The Queen added that the “powerful identities” of London and Manchester had managed to come to the fore despite the “appalling attacks” this year.

The Westminster Bridge attack in March claimed the lives of four pedestrians and a police officer, while eight were killed when three terrorists in a vehicle mowed into bystanders on London Bridge and then embarked on a knife rampage in Borough Market in June.

“This Christmas, I think of London and Manchester, whose powerful identities shone through over the past 12 months in the face of appalling attacks," she said.

The monarch also cast her mind back to the horrific Grenfell Tower blaze which killed 71 people in June while footage was shown of the monarch and Duke of Cambridge coming face to face with emergency services workers close to the site.

“And here in London, who can forget the sheer awfulness of the Grenfell Tower fire?” she said.

“Home” was a key theme in the Queen’s Christmas message and the royal used the address to say: “We think of our homes as places of warmth, familiarity and love... there is a timeless simplicity to the pull of home.”

The Queen will also make a nod to a future member of her family, Meghan Markle, the actor and campaigner who she is spending Christmas at Sandringham in Norfolk with.

A framed photo of Ms Markle and Prince Harry, who announced their engagement at the end of November after dating for just over 18 months, was displayed with other family pictures while the monarch addressed the public. The happy couple were also featured in footage which aired at the end of the festive broadcast.

Appearing to reference not only the couple's wedding next May but also the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's baby which is expected in April, the Queen said this Christmas her family “look forward to welcoming new members into it next year“.

The Queen also took the time to look back at turning points in her own life such as celebrating her 70th wedding anniversary in November and the Duke of Edinburgh's decision to retire from public duty.

“I don't know that anyone had invented the term 'platinum' for a 70th wedding anniversary when I was born. You weren't expected to be around that long,” she said. ”Even Prince Philip has decided it's time to slow down a little, having, as he economically put it, 'done his bit'.“

She insisted his decision to step down from solo public duties would not ruin his sense of happiness, saying: ”But I know his support and unique sense of humour will remain as strong as ever, as we enjoy spending time this Christmas with our family and look forward to welcoming new members into it next year.“

The annual televised festive address – the 60th by the Queen – was pre-recorded in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace and will be broadcast to the British public at 3pm.

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