In a particularly somber Christmas message Saturday, Queen Elizabeth paid tribute to her late husband, Prince Philip, who died earlier this year at the age of 99.
“Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones. This year, especially, I understand why,” she said in a heartfelt address delivered in front of a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle.
Her annual televised speech this year began with a slideshow of photos of the couple taken throughout their decades of marriage.
“His sense of service, intellectual curiosity and capacity to squeeze fun out of any situation, were all irrepressible,” the queen said. “That mischievous, enquiring twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him.”
“Life, of course, consists of final partings as well as first meetings,” she said.
But “as much as I and my family miss him, I know he would want us to enjoy Christmas,” the queen added, noting that she and her family had felt her late husband’s presence as they prepared to mark their first holiday season without him.
Despite the loss, there has been joy, the queen remarked. She hailed the arrival of four new great grandchildren this year, including Prince Harry’s and Meghan Markle’s daughter, 6-month-old Lilibet Diana, named for the queen’s sobriquet and baby Lilibet’s paternal grandmother, the late Princess Diana.
“For me and my family, even with one familiar laugh missing this year, there will be joy in Christmas, as we have a chance to reminisce, and see anew the wonders of the festive season through the eyes of our young children,” the queen said.
She expressed hope for brighter days ahead, noting that children “teach us all a lesson — just as the Christmas story does — that in the birth of a child, there is a new dawn with endless potential.”
Check out the entire message in the video clip up top.