Queen Elizabeth II calls for unity in Christmas message
The UK monarch has remained carefully and deliberately neutral on all political matters in her 66 years on the throne.
But in her Christmas message this year, three months before Britain is due to leave the European Union amid deep political divisions, Queen Elizabeth II appeals for people to show more respect to those with opposing views.
“Even with the most deeply held differences, treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step towards greater understanding,” the Queen said.
The 92-year-old also argues that the Christian message of “peace on earth and goodwill to all” is timeless, and “needed as much as ever.”
While the Queen never wavers from her politically neutral stance — she does not mention Brexit directly — her message ended a year in which the divisions over the issue have widened.
It also comes at a time when national populists surge across Europe and as US President Donald Trump continues to sow division for political gain.
The message features Queen Elizabeth II sitting at a desk in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, with a black-and-white photograph of her, Prince Philip and Prince Charles as a baby.
She appears in an ivory silk dress designed by Angela Kelly and a yellow gold brooch with carved ruby and diamond embellishments designed by Andrew Grima — which was a gift from The Duke of Edinburgh in 1966.
The monarch also mentioned the royal weddings and births that have taken place this year.
“It’s been a busy year for my family, with two weddings and two babies, and another child expected soon,” she said. “It helps to keep a grandmother well occupied.”
Referencing the Christmas story, the Queen said it retained its appeal.
“I believe his message of peace on earth and goodwill to all is never out of date. It can be heeded by everyone; it’s needed as much as ever.
In last year’s address, Queen Elizabeth II paid tribute to the victims of the Manchester terror attack and the Grenfell Tower fire in London.