26 Dec 2016

Queen urges acts of goodness in Christmas message

7:00 am on 26 December 2016

Queen Elizabeth focused on what she called the value of doing small things with great love in her annual Christmas message, reflecting on inspirational examples of "ordinary people doing extraordinary things."

Queen Elizabeth delivers her Christmas message.

Queen Elizabeth delivers her Christmas message. Photo: AFP

"It's understandable that we sometimes think the world's problems are so big that we can do little to help," she said.

"On our own, we cannot end wars or wipe out injustice, but the cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of goodness can be bigger than we imagine."

The Queen, who is the head of the Church of England, also referred to the life of Jesus, noting that despite his humble beginnings and maligned life, billions of people now rely on his teachings and draw inspiration from his example.

The monarch paid tribute to the British athletes who took part in the Olympic games in Brazil and the staff at the air ambulance base in Cambridge where her grandson Prince William works as a helicopter pilot.

She also noted that her husband's "Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme" and son Prince Charles' "Prince's Trust", both charitable organisations that support young people, had reached significant milestones this year - 60 and 40 years respectively.

The British monarch was 25 when she ascended the throne in 1952, learning of her father George VI's death while travelling in Kenya. After six decades, her early life was this year serialised in a popular Netflix television show The Crown.

The seasonal royal messages date back to King George V in 1932 and are usually pre-recorded from the monarch's London residence, Buckingham Palace.

Queen misses church service

The Queen missed the traditional Christmas church service for the first time in decades due to a heavy cold, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said.

The world's longest-reigning living monarch, and her husband are both suffering what the Palace described as heavy colds this week, delaying their journey to their Sandringham country residence in eastern England by a day, where they spend Christmas. They travelled there by helicopter on Thursda instead.

She has attended the Christmas service at the parish church of St. Mary Magdalene in Sandringham every year since the family started celebrating Christmas there in 1988.

The Duke was driven to church and walked in unaided, while Prince Charles, heir to the throne, walked to the church with his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall and other members of the family.

"The Queen continues to recover from a heavy cold and will stay indoors to assist with her recovery," a palace spokesman said. "Her Majesty will participate in the Royal Family Christmas celebrations during the day."

The Queen's other children, Anne, Andrew and Edward attended along with Prince Harry, Charles's second son. Prince William, second-in-line to the throne, was spending Christmas with the parents of his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge.

- Reuters