London, Dec 25 (efe-epa).- The United Kingdom’s Queen Elizabeth II on Friday sent a message of encouragement to those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic during her traditional Christmas Day speech.
In a pre-recorded message broadcast at 3 pm GMT, as is tradition, the queen said: “a year that has necessarily kept people apart has in many ways brought us closer.
“Across the Commonwealth my family and I have been inspired by stories of people volunteering in their communities, helping those in need,” she added.
“In the United Kingdom and around the world, people have risen magnificently to the challenges of the year, and I’m so proud and moved by this quiet, indomitable spirit.”
This Christmas period will be the first in around four decades that the queen will not be spending her time at Sandringham. Instead, the monarch is spending the festive holidays in Windsor with her husband Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh.
The head of state has therefore not been able to spend the time with the rest of the royal family due to the Covid-19 measures in the UK, much of which is under lockdown amid spiraling infections.
Directing a message to those affected by the pandemic, the queen said: “For many, this time of year will be tinged with sadness: some mourning the loss of those dear to them, and others missing friends and family members distanced for safety, when all they would really want for Christmas is a simple hug or a squeeze of the hand.
“If you are among them, you are not alone. And let me assure you of my thoughts and prayers.”
Elizabeth II also highlighted the importance of the work done by frontline healthcare workers during the pandemic, with particular emphasis on nurses.
She said that like predecessors such as Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole, nurses had helped shine “a lamp of hope across the world.”
“We owe them a debt of gratitude,” she added.
“We continue to be inspired by the kindness of strangers, and draw comfort that even on the darkest nights, there is hope in the new dawn.”
The traditional Queen’s Speech to mark Christmas was the third time the monarch addressed the nation this year after previous occasions during the first Covid-19 lockdown in April and then in May to mark the anniversary of the Allied victory in World War II. EFE-EPA