Queen delivers solemn Christmas speech
Queen Elizabeth II has used her annual Christmas Day speech to praise the "indomitable spirit" of people shown throughout 2020.
Addressing her subjects from Windsor Castle, where the 95-year-old has been self-isolating with Prince Philip, the Queen said, "People have risen magnificently to the challenges of the year and I'm so proud and moved by this quiet indomitable spirit.
"Good Samaritans have emerged across society showing care and respect for all, regardless of gender, race and background, reminding us that each one of us is special and equal in the eyes of God."
While the Queen traditionally spends Christmas at her Sandringham estate with her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, this year is set to be a dramatically different affair due to strict COVID-19 restrictions across the United Kingdom, which was addressed in the 10-minute-long speech.
"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," the Queen said.
The monarch said: "Every year we herald the coming of Christmas by turning on the lights. And light does more than create a festive mood - light brings hope.
"For Christians, Jesus is 'the light of the world', but we can't celebrate his birth today in quite the usual way. People of all faiths have been unable to gather as they would wish for their festivals, such as Passover, Easter, Eid and Vaisakhi. But we need life to go on.
"Last month, fireworks lit up the sky around Windsor, as Hindus, Sikhs and Jains celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights, providing joyous moments of hope and unity - despite social distancing
"Remarkably, 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.
"In the United Kingdom 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. To our young people in particular I say thank you for the part you have played.
"This year, we celebrated International Nurses' Day, on the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. As with other nursing pioneers like Mary Seacole, Florence Nightingale shone a lamp of hope across the world.
"Today, our frontline services still shine that lamp for us - supported by the amazing achievements of modern science - and we owe them a debt of gratitude."
🎄📺 “In the United Kingdom 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.”— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) December 25, 2020
In her 2020 broadcast, The Queen reflects on acts of kindness during this extraordinary year. pic.twitter.com/iKa67aZEUZ
The Queen shared clips of Prince Charles and Prince William, who both battled the virus, meeting with frontline workers.
She showed video of NHS workers clapping during the Clap for our Carers, which was carried out each Thursday during the first lockdown earlier this year.
The Queen included footage of herself and other members of the royal family on Zoom calls after the pandemic forced them to carry out engagements in quarantine.
Beside the Queen was a picture of her husband, Prince Philip. The couple celebrated 70 years of marriage in November.
Earlier in the day, British broadcaster Channel 4 sparked controversy after airing a bogus version of the Christmas Day message using a deepfake actor to portray the Queen.
The five-minute-long video showed the fake Queen discussing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal depature, Prince Andrew's links to paedophile Jeffrey Epstein, and doing a TikTok dance.
Channel 4 said they created the video to offer a "stark warning" around the threat of fake news in the digital era, however many experts have criticised the decision.
Channel 4 Director of Programmes, Ian Katz said the video was "a powerful reminder that we can no longer trust our own eyes".
Originally published as Queen delivers solemn Christmas speech