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Queen hails Manchester, London response to terror attacks in her Christmas message

The queen also paid tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh, who retired from official public duties earlier in the year

world Updated: Dec 25, 2017 20:55 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Queen Elizabeth II,Manchester,London
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II leaves the St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham after the Royal Family's traditional Christmas Day service on December 25, 2017.(AFP)

Delivering the 60th Christmas message of her reign, Queen Elizabeth II on Monday hailed the response of the people to the Manchester and London terror attacks this year, and celebrated the day with other members of the royal family in Sandringham, her country retreat.

“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 the message that is traditionally awaited and listened to by a large number of Britons.

After the May 22 terror attack in Manchester, in which 22 people died, the queen visited victims in the hospital. London faced three terror attacks in 2017: Westminster Bridge on March 22 (five killed), London Bridge on June 3 (eight killed) and Finsbury Park on June 19 (one killed).

In keeping with the message’s main theme of “home”, she said the Commonwealth — of which the queen is the head — was a “different type of family”. She mentioned the forthcoming Commonwealth heads of government meeting in April, to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, among others.

“In 2018, I will open my home to a different type of family, the leaders of the 52 nations of the Commonwealth, as they gather in the UK for a summit. The Commonwealth has an inspiring way of bringing people together,” she said.

In the pre-recorded message, the queen was seen seated at a table, alongside photographs of Prince George and Princess Charlotte, and two pictures of her with the Duke of Edinburgh, one from their wedding day in 1947 and the other from their anniversary in November this year.

The queen paid tributes to the Duke of Edinburgh, who retired from official public duties earlier in the year, praising his “support and unique sense of humour”. The message’s main theme was home.

The queen, 91, spent the day in Sandringham, Norfolk, with the Duke of Edinburgh, 96, and other members of the family, including Prince Harry and his fiancée Meghan Markle. It was first time someone who is yet to marry into the royal family joined its Christmas celebrations.

First Published: Dec 25, 2017 20:55 IST