Queen Elizabeth pays tribute to London, Manchester in Christmas message

Queen Elizabeth remembered the victims of terrorist attacks in London and Manchester during her annual Christmas Day message.

Queen Elizabeth appears with family photos during his Christmas message. Photo courtesy of The Royal Family/Twitter
Queen Elizabeth appears with family photos during his Christmas message. Photo courtesy of The Royal Family/Twitter

“This Christmas, I think of London and Manchester, whose powerful identities shone through over the past 12 months in the face of appalling attacks,” she said in a prerecorded message from Buckingham Palace in London.

The 91-year-old queen described the two cities as “powerful identities.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who died and those who lost so much, and we are indebted to members of the emergency services who risked their own lives this past year saving others,” the queen said.

She described meeting the Manchester concert attack survivors as a “privilege.” A suicide bomber attacked the venue after a performance by singer Ariana Grande, killing 22 people in May.

Earlier in March, five were killed in an attack near the House of Parliament. In June, seven were killed when three terrorists in a van mowed into bystanders on London Bridge and then embarked on a knife rampage in Borough Market. And two weeks later a group of Muslim worshipers were run over by a van, with one man who had fallen ill before the attack dying in London.

Queen Elizabeth also recalled Grenfell Tower fire, in which 71 people died, as “sheer awfulness.”

She spent Christmas Day in Sandringham in Norfolk with family members. Meghan Markle, the American actor who is engaged to marry Prince Harry, also was on hand.

Last year she missed the Christmas morning service due to illness.

The queen was dressed in an ivory white dress worn for the time time at the Diamond Jubilee Thames River Pageant in 2012.

During her message, she was surrounded by family photographs. The queen said her family “look forward to welcoming new members into it next year,” including another great grandchild. Britain’s Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, are expecting a third child.

Queen Elizabeth described the importance of home.

“We think of our homes as places of warmth, familiarity and love… there is a timeless simplicity to the pull of home.”

She noted her 70th wedding anniversary in November and the Duke of Edinburgh’s decision to retire from public duty at 96.

“I don’t know that anyone had invented the term ‘platinum’ for a 70th wedding anniversary when I was born,” she said. “You weren’t expected to be around that long.”

She praised her husband’s “unique sense of humor.”

By Allen Cone