Queen Elizabeth II shared in her Christmas message the pain she felt after her husband’s death as she encouraged people everywhere to celebrate with friends and family, despite the grief caused by the ongoing pandemic.
The Queen said she understood the difficulty of spending the holiday season “with the loss of a familiar laugh”, and delivered her speech alongside a framed picture of her arm with Prince Philip, who died in April at the age of 99. On her right shoulder was the same sapphire chrysanthemum brooch she’s wearing in the photo – a shiny statement pin she also wore when she was newly married.
“Although it is a time of great happiness and great welcome for many, Christmas can be difficult for those who have lost loved ones,” the Queen said in the pre-recorded message broadcast as many British families were enjoying the traditional Christmas dinner. This year, in particular, I understand why. ”
This festive season is the first since the Queen said goodbye to her husband more than 70 years ago at a mass at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. The coronavirus restrictions in place at the time meant the Queen sat on her own – a poignant reminder of how she will spend her life moving forward.
Despite her loss, the Queen said her family was “a source of great happiness,” noting that she has welcomed four great-grandchildren this year.
“While COVID again means we can’t celebrate quite as we wish, we can still enjoy many happy traditions, whether it’s singing carols – as long as the melody is known – decorating the tree and giving and receiving gifts or watching a favorite movie in which we already know the end.” “It’s no surprise that families often cherish the Christmas routine.”
As the transmissible omicron coronavirus spreads rapidly across the UK, the 95-year-old has decided not to spend Christmas at Sandringham, the royal estate in the east of England where she traditionally spends the festive season with family. On Monday, the palace said, the Queen will spend her holidays at Windsor Castle, west of London, where she has stayed throughout most of the pandemic.
She will be joined by some members of her family, including Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall.
The annual Christmas message to the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth marks the end of a busy and sometimes difficult year for the Queen.
Philip died in April, just two months after his 100th birthday, after spending weeks in hospital. Buckingham Palace announced this week that she has agreed to offer a service of thanks for his life in the spring.
The Queen has struggled with health issues of her own, cutting back on travel and work since spending a night in hospital in October and her doctors asking her to rest. Since then, she has taken on light duties including virtual audiences with diplomats and weekly talks with the Prime Minister.
In June, she appeared at the G7 summit in Cornwall, and in November she gave a recorded speech at the United Nations climate talks in Glasgow.
Concluding her Christmas message, the Queen noted that the holiday is often seen as a time for children. But, she said, that’s “only half the story.”
“It would perhaps be more correct to say that Christmas can speak to the child within all of us. Sometimes adults, when weighed down by fears, fail to see joy in the simple things where children do not. And for me and my family, even with the loss of a laugh A familiar one this year, there will be joy at Christmas.”