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The Queen used her speech to look back on a hard year

25 December 2017

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.

"We remember the birth of Jesus Christ whose only sanctuary was a stable in Bethlehem", she said.

" This Christmas, I think of London and Manchester, whose powerful identities shone through over the past twelve months in the face of appalling attacks".

The Queen described a hospital visit immediately after the Manchester attack as "a privilege because the patients I met were an example to us all, showing extraordinary bravery and resilience".

There were more deaths in June when three terrorists in a van ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge then went on a knife rampage in Borough Market, killing eight in total.

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The couple celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary in November having been married at Westminster Abbey in 1947.

"We think of our homes of places of warmth, familiarity and love, of shared stories and memories which is perhaps why at this time of year so many return to where they grew up", she said.

Surrounding the Queen in the palace's 1844 room, where the broadcast was recorded, were family photos including pictures of her great grandchildren Prince George and Princess Charlotte, as well as Meghan and Harry.

The queen began by introducing an excerpt from her first televised Christmas message, from 1957.

This year, Harry's fiancée Meghan Markle will join her husband-to-be Sandringham on December 25th - an unprecedented step for someone who is yet to become an official member of the royal family.

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Elizabeth and Philip missed last year's service with the flu.

She and Harry, 33, who are now living together in a two-bed cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace, will also take part in the traditional walk to mass by the entire royal family.

This is thought to be a reference to Meghan Markle, who will marry Prince Harry in the spring, as well as William and Kate's third child, due in April.

He retired from regular royal duties over the summer, but has continued to make occasional appearances, most recently walking to the Christmas Eve church service on the royal family's Sandringham estate.

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The Queen used her speech to look back on a hard year