Queen’s Christmas speech. Image: Instagram

Queen addresses bumpy year while Harry and Megan celebrate Christmas in Canada

Prince Harry, his wife, Meghan and son are rumoured to be in B.C.

Queen Elizabeth II and her close family celebrated Christmas with a morning service at St. Mary Magdalene Church near her rural retreat at Sandringham in eastern England.

It was a festive event Wednesday as the queen was joined for the first time by Prince George, 6, and Princess Charlotte, 4, the two eldest children of Prince William and his wife, Kate. They left 1-year-old Prince Louis at home.

George and Charlotte walked to church hand in hand with their parents. Prince Charles, their grandfather, walked next to them.

The queen arrived in a Bentley with Charles’ wife, Camilla. Her elderly husband, Prince Philip, stayed at home. He was discharged from a hospital Tuesday after treatment for an undisclosed ailment. Philip, 98, has retired from public duties.

View this post on Instagram

This year marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day and in today's Queen's Christmas Broadcast Her Majesty reflects on the commemorations. “For the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of that decisive battle, in a true spirit of reconciliation, those who had formerly been sworn enemies came together in friendly commemorations either side of the Channel, putting past differences behind them. "By being willing to put past differences behind us and move forward together, we honour the freedom and democracy once won for us at so great a cost.” . Speaking about the life of Jesus and importance of reconciliation The Queen said: "…How small steps taken in faith and in hope can overcome long-held differences and deep-seated divisions to bring harmony and understanding… The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference.” . Watch The Queen's Christmas broadcast in full in our IGTV video. #HappyChristmas

A post shared by The Royal Family (@theroyalfamily) on

Prince Andrew, who has stepped down from royal duties because of his association with a convicted sex offender, attended an earlier church service with his brother Charles at his side.

Prince Harry, his wife, Meghan, and their 7-month-old son, Archie, did not attend. They are spending the holiday in Canada with Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland.

The royals were greeted by several hundred well-wishers who had gathered outside the church grounds.

The queen’s traditional pre-recorded Christmas message will be broadcast throughout Britain and the Commonwealth nations Wednesday afternoon. Excerpts released ahead of time reveal that the queen plans to acknowledge it has been a challenging year.

Talking about the need for reconciliation and forgiveness, Elizabeth says: “The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference.”

She is thought to be referring both to Britain’s laborious exit from the European Union, which is now almost certainly going to happen on Jan. 31 after voters gave the pro-Brexit Conservative Party a comfortable majority in Parliament, and to the royal family’s difficulties.

The problems this year included Andrew’s retreat from public duties following a disastrous TV interview in which he defended his friendship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and failed to show empathy for Epstein’s young female victims.

The family has also endured what many close observers think is a rift between William and Harry. Both Harry and Meghan have complained about constant scrutiny by the media as they settle into family life with Archie.

READ MORE: How much do you know about Christmas?

READ MORE: Gerry Christmas, Okanagan!

——— Katz reported from London.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PQBeat Podcast: Pro hockey goalie Connor LaCouvee of Qualicum Beach

Listen: Netminder talks BCHL, college, pros and training during a pandemic

Petition underway to get RDN to improve Sandpiper water quality

Campaign urges regional district to make issue a priority

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

COVID-19: Some gyms re-open in Parksville Qualicum Beach

Fitness facilities create space to allow appropriate social distancing

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Three people facing mischief charges after protests at Premier John Horgan’s home

Special prosecutor was appointed to avoid real or perceived undue influence

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Eight people arrested in Victoria homeless camp after enforcement order issued

Those living in tents were given until May 20 to move indoors

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

Most Read