Christmas Broadcast 2013
We are forever grateful to all those who put themselves at risk to keep us safe.
I once knew someone who spent a year in a plaster cast recovering from an operation on his back. He read a lot, and thought a lot, and felt miserable.
Later, he realised this time of forced retreat from the world had helped him to understand the world more clearly.
We all need to get the balance right between action and reflection. With so many distractions, it is easy to forget to pause and take stock. Be it through contemplation, prayer, or even keeping a diary, many have found the practice of quiet personal reflection surprisingly rewarding, even discovering greater spiritual depth to their lives.
Reflection can take many forms. When families and friends come together at Christmas, it’s often a time for happy memories and reminiscing. Our thoughts are with those we have loved who are no longer with us. We also remember those who through doing their duty cannot be at home for Christmas, such as workers in essential or emergency services.
And especially at this time of year we think of the men and women serving overseas in our armed forces. We are forever grateful to all those who put themselves at risk to keep us safe.
Service and duty are not just the guiding principles of yesteryear; they have an enduring value which spans the generations.
I myself had cause to reflect this year, at Westminster Abbey, on my own pledge of service made in that great church on Coronation Day sixty years earlier.
The anniversary reminded me of the remarkable changes that have occurred since the Coronation, many of them for the better; and of the things that have remained constant, such as the importance of family, friendship and good neighbourliness.
But reflection is not just about looking back. I and many others are looking forward to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year.
The baton relay left London in October and is now the other side of the world, on its way across seventy nations and territories before arriving in Scotland next summer. Its journey is a reminder that the Commonwealth can offer us a fresh view of life.
My son Charles summed this up at the recent meeting in Sri Lanka. He spoke of the Commonwealth’s “family ties” that are a source of encouragement to many. Like any family there can be differences of opinion. But however strongly they’re expressed they are held within the common bond of friendship and shared experiences.
Here at home my own family is a little larger this Christmas.
As so many of you will know, the arrival of a baby gives everyone the chance to contemplate the future with renewed happiness and hope. For the new parents, life will never be quite the same again!
As with all who are christened, George was baptised into a joyful faith of Christian duty and service. After the christening, we gathered for the traditional photograph.
It was a happy occasion, bringing together four generations.
In the year ahead, I hope you will have time to pause for moments of quiet reflection. As the man in the plaster cast discovered, the results can sometimes be surprising.
For Christians, as for all people of faith, reflection, meditation and prayer help us to renew ourselves in God’s love, as we strive daily to become better people. The Christmas message shows us that this love is for everyone. There is no one beyond its reach.
On the first Christmas, in the fields above Bethlehem, as they sat in the cold of night watching their resting sheep, the local shepherds must have had no shortage of time for reflection. Suddenly all this was to change. These humble shepherds were the first to hear and ponder the wondrous news of the birth of Christ - the first noel - the joy of which we celebrate today.
I wish you all a very happy Christmas.
Christmas Broadcast 2015
I have been warned I may have Happy Birthday sung to me more than once or twice.
A speech by The Queen at the Inauguration of the General Synod, 2015
St. Paul reminds us that all Christians, as ambassadors for Christ, are entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation.
Christmas Broadcast 2011
It is through this lens of history that we should view the conflicts of today, and so give us hope for tomorrow.
Christmas Broadcast 2012
At Christmas I am always struck by how the spirit of togetherness lies also at the heart of the Christmas story.
Christmas Broadcast 1997
Being united - that is, feeling a unity of purpose - is the glue that bonds together the members of a family, a country, a Commonwealth.
Christmas Broadcast 2002
All great religions have such times of renewal, moments to take stock before moving on to face the challenges which lie ahead.
Christmas Broadcast 1977
My hope this Christmas is that the Christian spirit of reconciliation may burn as strongly in our hearts during the coming year.
Christmas Broadcast 1972
In the United Kingdom we have our own particular sorrows in Northern Ireland and I want to send a special message of sympathy to all those men, women and children who have...
Christmas Broadcast 1975
Then Christmas comes, and once again we are reminded that people matter, and it is our relationship with one another that is most important.
Christmas Broadcast 2014
For every poppy a life; and a reminder of the grief of loved ones left behind.
A speech by The Queen at Lambeth Palace, 2012
The Church has a duty to protect the free practice of all faiths in this country
Outfits for The Queen, The Duchess of Cornwall and The Prince of Wales
Her Majesty The Queen gives formal consent to the marriage of Prince William and Catherine Middleton
Christmas Broadcast 2010
Right around the world, people gather to compete under standard rules and, in most cases, in a spirit of friendly rivalry.
A speech by The Queen at the General Synod Inauguration, 2010
At the heart of our faith stand not a preoccupation with our own welfare and comfort but the concepts of service and of sacrifice.
A speech by The Queen during the Papal Visit, 2010
Your Holiness, your presence here today reminds us of our common Christian heritage, and of the Christian contribution to the encouragement of world peace.
A speech by The Queen at the Sydney Opera House
It is my duty to seek to remain true to the interests of Australia and all Australians as we enter the twenty-first century.
Christmas Broadcast 2009
I am confident that this diverse Commonwealth of nations can strengthen the common bond that transcends politics, religion, race and economic circumstances.
Christmas Broadcast 2008
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.
A speech by The Queen at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth
My grandfather, father, husband and two sons have all undergone training here, and I have had many visits over the years.
Christmas Broadcast 2007
The Christmas story also draws attention to all those people who are on the edge of society
Christmas Broadcast 2006
The birth of a baby brings great happiness - but then the business of growing up begins.
A speech by The Queen at Mansion House for Her Majesty's 80th Birthday
As Groucho Marx once said "Anyone can get old - all you have to do is to live long enough". And there are in my view many other anniversaries this year which are more...
Christmas Broadcast 2005
These natural and human tragedies provided the headline news; they also provoked a quite remarkable humanitarian response.
Opening ceremony, eighth General Synod of the Church of England, 15 Nov 2005
When limitless amounts of information, much of it ephemeral, are instantly accessible on demand, there is a renewed hunger for that which endures and gives meaning.
Norway State Banquet, 25 October 2005
I remember the bonfires along the coastline as we arrived and the enthusiastic welcome we received as guests of your grandfather, King Haakon.
Christmas Broadcast 2004
Everyone is our neighbour, no matter what race, creed or colour.