LONDON – Queen Elizabeth II used her Christmas broadcast to emphasize that light can triumph over darkness after a difficult year.
The queen noted there have been “moments of darkness” in the last year, which has been marked by extremist attacks and a migrant crisis that has overwhelmed Europe, but cites the Bible as offering solace.
“The Gospel of John contains a verse of great hope, often read at Christmas carol services: ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it,”‘ the queen said.
The prerecorded speech – a longstanding Christmas tradition – was broadcast on radio and television in Britain at 3 p.m. (1500 GMT, 10 a.m. EST) and in many parts of the British Commonwealth on Christmas Day. It was also posted on the royal YouTube channel.
The 89-year-old queen writes the brief speech herself, often reflecting on her own personal beliefs and stressing the importance of family. She noted the 70th anniversary this year of the end of World War II by thanking those who served in the conflict.
The queen, her husband Prince Philip and senior members of the royal family planned to attend church services Christmas morning and will spend most of the day at her sprawling Sandringham estate in Norfolk, 175 kilometres north of London.
Holiday well-wishers gathered outside the church to catch a glimpse of the Royal family. Prince William and his wife, Kate, were there but they left George, 2, and seven-month-old Charlotte at home.
There is usually a gala Christmas lunch for the royals after church, followed by a walk outside.