In her traditional televised Christmas message, the Queen said she had been “inspired by the courage and hope” the royal family had witnessed in Britain and the Commonwealth in 2011.
The Queen’s Christmas message this year focused on family, friends and community spirit.
Describing her family’s visits to tragedy-hit communities, the Queen said: “We have seen that it is in hardship that we often find strength from our families. It is in adversity that new friendships are sometimes formed. And it is in a crisis that communities break down barriers and bind together to help one another.”
She referred to her and Prince Philip’s October visit to flood-ravaged Queensland in Australia, Prince William‘s trip to quake-hit New Zealand and flooded Australia and Prince Charles‘ visit to a Welsh mining community, which lost four miners in an underground disaster.
The monarch also made reference to her hugely successful and historic state visit to Ireland in May, the first visit by an English monarch in more than 100 years.
“Relationships that years ago were once so strained have through sorrow and forgiveness blossomed into long-term friendship. It is through this lens of history that we should view the conflicts of today and so give us hope for tomorrow,” she said.
The Queen’s own family were a source of joy in 2011 with the marriages of two of her grandchildren: grandson Prince William to Kate Middleton in April and granddaughter Zara Phillips to rugby player Mike Tindall in July.
Describing her visit to Perth, Australia for the Commonwealth Heads of Government summit in October, the Queen hailed the 53 member nations.
“All with a common bond, shared beliefs, mutual values and goals. It is this which makes the Commonwealth a family of people in the truest sense, at ease with each other, enjoying it’s shared history and ready and willing to support its members in the direst of circumstances,” she said.
The 2011 speech was recorded in the 1844 room of Buckingham Palace with photographs of the Queen’s family prominently displayed.
The Christmas address is written by the Queen herself and is one of the rare occasions when she does not turn to the Government for advice but is able to voice her own views.
The Queen delivered her Christmas message in a red dress by Angela Kelly with her diamond and platinum Flame Lily brooch, which was a 21st birthday present from the children of Southern Rhodesia.