LONDON: In her message to the nation on Christmas Day, the UK's Queen Elizabeth II reassured anyone struggling without friends and family this year during the festivities due to the COVID-19 pandemic that they "are not alone".
The 94-year-old monarch's video message, which was recorded in mid-December with a pared-back film crew and in accordance with government guidance, was broadcast on Friday, the BBC reported.
"Remarkably, a year that has necessarily kept people apart has, in many ways, brought us closer," the Queen said, adding that "even on the darkest nights there is hope in the new dawn". She said that Royal Family has been "inspired" by people volunteering in their communities. "In the UK and around the world, people have risen magnificently to the challenges of the year, and I am so proud and moved by this quiet, indomitable spirit."
While lamenting that "people of all faiths have been unable to gather as they would wish for their festivals", she highlighted last month's Diwali celebrations in Windsor as an example of "joyous moments of hope and unity despite social distancing".
"Of course 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 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," the BBC quoted the monarch as saying in the video.
The Queen acknowledged frontline workers, and "good Samaritans (who) have emerged across society, showing care and respect for all". "Let the light of Christmas, the spirit of selflessness, love and above all, hope, guide us in the times ahead." The Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, have been living at Windsor Castle during the pandemic with a small household staff.
It is believed that this is the first year that the royal couple have not spent Christmas at their Sandringham home since the mid-1980s. The Royal Family on Friday tweeted a video of St George's Chapel choir singing. (IANS)