Queen hails terror-hit United Kingdom cities in Christmas Day message

The Queen delivers her Christmas message
Credit
John Stillwell  PA

The Queen will use her Christmas message to pay a rare public tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, praising his "unique sense of humour" in the year of their 70th anniversary.

It had been a privilege, she said, to visit young survivors of the bombing at a pop concert in Manchester in May that killed 22 people.

Manchester suffered the worst terrorist attack in United Kingdom soil this year when twenty two people were killed after a suicide bomber detonated a device as people were leaving an Ariane Grande concert at the Manchester Arena on the 22nd May.

The queen said in her annual broadcast to Britain and the Commonwealth that she was thinking about London and Manchester, the two English cities attacked by terrorists this year, "whose powerful identities shone through over the past 12 months, in the face of appalling attacks".

Her message's main theme was the importance of home.

London suffered the Westminster Bridge attack in March, which claimed the lives of four pedestrians and a police officer, and there were eight more deaths when three terrorists in a vehicle ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge then went on a knife rampage in Borough Market in June.

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This year, Harry's fiancée Meghan Markle will join her husband-to-be Sandringham on December 25th - an unprecedented step for someone who is yet to become an official member of the royal family. Even Prince Philip has decided it's time to slow down a little - having, as he economically put it, 'done his bit'.

"We think of our homes as place of warmth, familiarity and love. there is a timeless simplicity to the pull of home", she will say, according to excerpts from her speech released by Buckingham Palace.

"I don't know that anyone had invented the term "platinum" for a 70th wedding anniversary when I was born".

The address was filmed in Buckingham Palace's 1844 room that is decorated with a Christmas tree and pictures of her husband as well as great grandchildren George and Charlotte.

There was only the gentlest of references to perhaps the year's most eagerly anticipated royal event, the engagement of her grandson Prince Harry to US actress Meghan Markle.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived in Norfolk last week to kick off their traditional Christmas break, which they will spend on the Royal estate at Sandringham.

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