In Christmas message, queen honors cities hit by terror

HRH Queen Elizabeth arrives at King’s Lynn station on her way to spend Christmas at Sandringham

The Queen will use her Christmas message to praise the "powerful identities" of London and Manchester that have "shone through" in the face of terrorist attacks this year.

In this year's message, the Queen also paid tribute to her husband - 96-year-old Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh - who retired from royal duties earlier this year.

"We remember the birth of Jesus Christ whose only sanctuary was a stable in Bethlehem", she said.

London suffered two deadly attacks, while 22 people were killed in a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing.

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

"I described that hospital visit as a privilege because the patients I met were an example to us all showing extraordinary bravery and resilience", she said.

The following month, eight people were killed when three men in a van ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge before going on a knife attack in nearby Borough Market.

Elizabeth II will say: "We think of our homes as places of warmth, familiarity and love. there is a timeless simplicity to the pull of home".

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The queen will also talk about the importance of home in her message, and the sense of community in London and Manchester after the capital's devastating Grenfell Tower fire and the militant attacks in both cities.

The couple celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary in November having been married at Westminster Abbey in 1947.

She returned for the traditional service after having missed it previous year due to a lingering cold.

"But I know his support and unique sense of humor will remain as strong as ever, as we enjoy spending time this Christmas with our family and look forward to welcoming new members into it next year".

This is thought to be a reference to Meghan Markle, who will marry Prince Harry in the spring, as well as William and Kate's third child, due in April.

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.

Markle, who was shown briefly in the program's closing images, attended a Christmas carol service with the royal family on Monday at a church near the queen's Sandringham estate, in Norfolk, England. The queen gave her first radio Christmas message in 1952.

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