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

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan, Shuswap

Environment Canada is forecasting strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy downpours in parts of the Interior

WorkSafe BC conducted 70 inspections in the Okanagan amid B.C.’s reopening plan

WorkSafe BC has conducted 100 inspections at restaurants across the province since May 19

EDITORIAL: Revisiting alcohol consumption

A proposal to allow alcohol consumption in some public spaces in Penticton deserves consideration

Chute Lake Lodge opens June 1, offering glamping, yurt, and ebike rentals

Escape into the wilderness and #lovelocalpenticton when Chute Lake Lodge reopens for the season

Okanagan Skaha School District to reopen playgrounds

Facilities will reopen to the public on June 1

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Emergency crews rush youth to hospital after quadding accident in West Kelowna

West Kelowna Fire Rescue’s new off-road vehicle was used in the rescue

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

Preparations for flooding in the Shuswap accelerate

A sandbagging machine and a crew to run it have been set up in Silver Creek.

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

Most Read