'The year has brought us closer’: Queen’s Christmas message of hope

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II - Credit: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

"Light brings hope” were the moving words from the Queen in her Christmas speech, as the county comes to the end of a dark year. 

This year the Monarch, who would normally be at Sandringham, is spending Christmas with the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor. 

The first in more than 30 years when the Queen and her family did not attend a morning service in Norfolk. 

The Royal Family leave Christmas Morning Service at Sandringham Church 2017 - Paul John Bayfield

The Queen and her family leave Christmas Morning Service at Sandringham Church in 2017. - Credit: Paul John Bayfield

In her speech she said: “Every year we herald the coming of Christmas by turning on the lights. And light does more than create a festive mood - light brings hope. 

“Remarkably, a year that has necessarily kept people apart has, in many ways, brought us closer. Across the Commonwealth, my family and I have been inspired by stories of people volunteering in their communities, helping those in need. 

"In the United Kingdom and around the world, people have risen magnificently to the challenges of the year, and I am so proud and moved by this quiet, indomitable spirit. To our young people in particular I say thank you for the part you have played. 

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“Of course, for many, this time of year will be tinged with sadness: some mourning the loss of those dear to them, and others missing friends and family members distanced for safety, when all they'd really want for Christmas is a simple hug or a squeeze of the hand. 

"If you are among them, you are not alone, and let me assure you of my thoughts and prayers.” 

Sandringham House.

Sandringham House. - Credit: Archant

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In her speech, the Queen talked several times about her Christian faith.

"The Bible tells how a star appeared in the sky, its light guiding the shepherds and wise men to the scene of Jesus's birth. Let the light of Christmas - the spirit of selflessness, love and above all hope - guide us in the times ahead.

"It is in that spirit that I wish you a very happy Christmas."

Thousands would usually gather in Sandringham to get a glimpse of the royal family on Christmas day, but as the country continues to battle the coronavirus their traditional plans were unable to go ahead. 

Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and their three children at Anmer Hall, their Norfolk home but are not expected to make any public appearances. 

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