Queen tells Brits 'you are not alone' in Christmas Day speech

25 December 2020, 15:10

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The Queen has used her Christmas Day message to tell those who have lost loved ones during this tough year that "you are not alone".

In her speech, the Monarch acknowledged that this Christmas "will be tinged with sadness" due to social distancing and the loss of family members and friends during the coronavirus pandemic.

She said many will be spending time apart this year, "when all they'd really want for Christmas is a simple hug or a squeeze of the hand".

However, the Queen sought to reassure those affected by personal tragedies in 2020, saying: "If you are among them, you are not alone, and let me assure you of my thoughts and prayers."

Earlier, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge urged those struggling on Christmas Day to seek help from a number of charities, as they praised frontline workers who are giving up festivities "to look after the rest of us".

Prince William and Kate tweeted pictures of people working through the Christmas holidays on Friday, including social care workers looking after the vulnerable and volunteers feeding those in need.

The Queen used her message to express her gratitude to frontline workers, scientists and volunteers who have worked tirelessly throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and gave a particular thanks to young people for their efforts.

"In the United Kingdom, and around the world, people have risen magnificently to the challenges of the year, and I am so proud and moved by this quiet, indomitable spirit. To our young people in particular I say thank you for the part you have played," she said.

"This year, we celebrated International Nurses' Day, on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.

"As with other nursing pioneers like Mary Seacole, Florence Nightingale shone a lamp of hope across the world, today, our frontline services still shine that lamp for us - supported by the amazing achievements of modern science - and we owe them a debt of gratitude."

The Monarch added that she continued to be inspired by the kindness of strangers and that she takes comfort that "even on the darkest nights, there is hope in the new dawn".

The Queen used her Christmas speech to bring hope to Brits after a tough year
The Queen used her Christmas speech to bring hope to Brits after a tough year. Picture: PA

She explained that while people have been kept apart in 2020, the year has "in many ways brought us closer" together no matter what religion people follow, their gender, race or background.

"Across the Commonwealth, my family and I have been inspired by stories of people volunteering in their communities, helping those in need," the Queen said.

She added: "Every year we herald the coming of Christmas by turning on the lights. And light does more than create a festive mood - light brings hope.

"For Christians, Jesus is 'the light of the world', but we can't celebrate his birth today in quite the usual way. People of all faiths have been unable to gather as they would wish for their festivals, such as Passover, Easter, Eid and Vaisakhi. But we need life to go on.

"Last month, fireworks lit up the sky around Windsor, as Hindus, Sikhs and Jains celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights, providing joyous moments of hope and unity - despite social distancing."

The Monarch compared the work of some this year to the parable of the Good Samaritan - in which a man who was robbed and left at the roadside was saved by someone who did not share his religion or culture.

"This wonderful story of kindness is still as relevant today," she said.

"Good Samaritans have emerged across society showing care and respect for all, regardless of gender, race or background, reminding us that each one of us is special and equal in the eyes of God.

"The teachings of Christ have served as my inner light, as has the sense of purpose we can find in coming together to worship."

Similarly, she used the story of the First World War's Unknown Warrior who, she said, represents all those who put the lives of others above their own and who will be doing so on Christmas Day.

"In November, we commemorated another hero - though nobody knows his name," the Monarch said.

"The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior isn't a large memorial, but everyone entering Westminster Abbey has to walk around his resting place, honouring this unnamed combatant of the First World War - a symbol of selfless duty and ultimate sacrifice.

"The Unknown Warrior was not exceptional. That's the point. He represents millions like him who throughout our history have put the lives of others above their own and will be doing so today. For me, this is a source of enduring hope in difficult and unpredictable times."

Finally, the Queen spoke of the tale in the Bible of a star appearing in the sky to guide shepherds and wise men to the place of Jesus' birth, and how this metaphor should also guide people through the next year.

She said: "The Bible tells how a star appeared in the sky, its light guiding the shepherds and wise men to the scene of Jesus's birth. Let the light of Christmas - the spirit of selflessness, love and above all hope - guide us in the times ahead.

"It is in that spirit that I wish you a very happy Christmas."