The Queen’s annual Christmas message had a special poignancy as she paid tender—and unusually personal— tribute to her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who died last April at age 99.
“Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones,” she said “This year, especially, I understand why. But for me, in the months since the death of my beloved Philip, I have drawn great comfort from the warmth and affection of the many tributes to his life and work…His sense of service, intellectual curiosity and capacity to squeeze fun out of any situation were all irrepressible.
That mischievous, enquiring twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him. But life, of course, consists of final partings as well as first meetings—and much as I and my family miss him, I know he would want us to enjoy Christmas
She spoke of the family feeling “his presence” in their holiday preparations, as well as the need for families to honor their traditions, including the gift of passing them along to the next generation.
“I see it in my own family and it is a source of great happiness. Prince Philip was always mindful of this sense of passing the baton.”
In that spirit, she praised the “astonishing success” of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award that he created in 1956 to help young people improve themselves through meeting a series of challenges.
She also singled out the Duke’s longstanding work to preserve the environment that is being carried out by Princes Charles and William and Duchesses Camilla and Catherine.
Looking to 2022, the 95-year-old Queen spoke of the celebration of her Platinum Jubilee, which will begin on February 6, the 70th anniversary of her accession—an unprecedented event in British history. She said she hoped the commemorations would encourage “a sense of togetherness, a chance to give thanks for the enormous changes of the last 70 years—social, scientific, and cultural—and to look ahead with confidence.”
Reflecting on the true meaning of Christmas, she encouraged her audience to “see anew the wonder of the festive season through the eyes of our young children, of whom we were delighted to welcome four more this year.
They teach us all a lesson—just as the Christmas story does—that in the birth of a child, there is a new dawn with endless potential.”