Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II will praise the “powerful identities” of London and Manchester in responding to terrorist attacks this year, during her annual Christmas message on Monday.
She will also pay a personal tribute to the “support and unique sense of humour” of husband Prince Philip, who retired from solo public duties earlier this year.
“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 91-year-old monarch was to say in the pre-recorded televised message, according to extracts released beforehand.
London suffered two deadly terror attacks, while 22 people — including children — were killed during an attack at Manchester Arena following a performance by US singer Ariana Grande.
Flanked by pictures of great-grandchildren George and Charlotte in her Buckingham Palace home, the Queen will say: “We think of our homes as places of warmth, familiarity and love… there is a timeless simplicity to the pull of home.”
The world’s longest-serving monarch will then praise her 96-year-old husband, saying: “I know his support and unique sense of humour will remain strong as ever as we enjoy spending Christmas with our family, and look forward to welcoming new members into it next year.”
Prince Harry’s bride-to-be Meghan Markle is to become the first fiancee to spend Christmas with the British royal family — a move hailed as a sea change in the monarchy’s traditionalist attitude.
The US actress will join the royals at Sandringham, the Queen’s private estate in Norfolk, eastern England, where the royals traditionally spend their winter break.
It is understood that Harry and his fiancee will stay with Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate at Anmer Hall, their home in the Sandringham grounds, rather than in the main house.
Markle will have to adjust to the royal family’s idiosyncratic ways and customs, engrained in centuries of tradition.
The royals exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, in keeping with German practice.
Markle is reportedly an animal lover but will have to put up the with royals’ tradition of going out shooting on Boxing Day.