Queen Elizabeth's Christmas message to honour cities hit by terror

Queen Elizabeth's Christmas message to honour cities hit by terror

Twenty-two people were killed and many more injured at Manchester's Ariana Grande concert in May, followed by an attack near London Bridge in which eight people were killed and dozens wounded.

Some 22 people were killed - including many children.

Later that month, a man died when a hired van ran into worshippers near the Muslim Welfare House in Finsbury Park, north London.

Rounding out a message about the home and family, the monarch continued her recent tradition of speaking openly about her Christian faith.

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

"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 will add in the message which was to be broadcast at 1500 GMT.

The Queen also spoke of her pain of the tragedy of Grenfell Tower, as well as those who lost their homes and loved ones in Hurricanes Irma and Maria. "You weren't expected to be around that long".

"A few weeks ago, the Prince of Wales visited the Caribbean in the aftermath of hurricanes that destroyed entire communities".

"Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who died and those who lost so much; and we are indebted to members of the emergency services who risked their own lives, this past year, saving others".

The Queen also paid a romantic tribute to her husband of 70 years, Prince Philip, who this year at the age of 96 chose to slow down in his public duties.

But what hasn't changed, she said, was that most viewers would be watching the broadcast from home.

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 USA actress Meghan Markle.

The royal couple are featured in a black and white image from their 1947 wedding, and in a colour photo released to mark their 70th wedding anniversary celebrated in November.

Looking back over 2017, the Queen reflected fondly on her relationship with Prince Philip amid his decision to "slow down a little".

The Queen and Prince Philip were seen together in public heading to church on her Sandringham estate today along with senior members of the Royal Family, including their children and grandchildren.