The Queen will use her Christmas message to praise the ‘powerful identities’ of London and Manchester that ‘shone through’ in the face of terrorist attacks this year.
During her televised address to the nation, the Queen will also pay tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, who retired from solo public duties.
She praised his ‘support and unique sense of humour’.
Following tradition, the Queen’s message will look back over the last 12 months and take ‘home’ as its theme.
Sitting behind a desk at Buckingham Palace, the Queen will say: ‘This Christmas, I think of London and Manchester, whose powerful identities shone through over the past twelve months in the face of appalling attacks.’
The devastating series of terrorist atrocities began with the Westminster Bridge attack in March that saw four pedestrians die when an attacker, later shot dead by police, drove at them before stabbing a police officer to death.
In Manchester a few months later, 22 people, many of them children, were killed when a lone suicide attacker detonated an explosive device as crowds left an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena.
There were more deaths in June when three terrorists in a van ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge before going on a knife rampage in Borough Market, killing eight in total. They were all shot dead by police.
The address traditionally has a strong religious framework reflecting the Queen’s faith, and is written by the monarch who draws on current issues and her own experiences over the past year.
Headline making events during 2017 include June’s General Election, the devastating Grenfell Tower fire, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement and the ongoing Brexit negotiations.
Speaking about the Christmas message’s theme the Queen will say: ‘We think of our homes as places of warmth, familiarity and love… there is a timeless simplicity to the pull of home.’
The Queen’s speech was recorded in Buckingham Palace’s 1844 room, which is decorated with a large Christmas tree and a desk adorned with family photos.
Pictures of the Queen’s great grandchildren, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, can be seen, along with two photos of the Queen and Philip, taken 70 years apart.
In the broadcast the Queen is wearing an ivory white dress, designed by Angela Kelly.
It’s an outfit she first wore with a matching coat and hat for the Diamond Jubilee Thames River Pageant in 2012.
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