United Kingdom queen laments terror attacks in Christmas message

In Christmas message, queen honours cities hit by terror

Queen Elizabeth II plans to use her Christmas message to praise London and Manchester for pulling together after extremist attacks this year.

The Queen also paid a romantic tribute to her husband of 70 years, Prince Philip, who this year at the age of 96 made a decision to slow down in his public duties.

London suffered two deadly attacks, while 22 people were killed in a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena where U.S. singer Ariana Grande had been performing.

"This Christmas, I think of London and Manchester, whose powerful identities shone through over the past 12 months in the face of appalling attacks", she will add in the message which was to be broadcast at 1500 GMT.

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Rounding out a message about the home and family, the monarch continued her recent tradition of speaking openly about her Christian faith.

In her annual televised address, she described meeting the Manchester survivors in hospital as a "privilege", saying 'the patients I met were an example to us all, showing extraordinary bravery and resilience'.

London suffered the Westminster Bridge attack in March, which claimed the lives of four pedestrians and a police officer, and there were eight more deaths when three terrorists in a vehicle ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge then went on a knife rampage in Borough Market in June.

"We think of our homes of places of warmth, familiarity and love, of shared stories and memories which is perhaps why at this time of year so many return to where they grew up", she said.

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Her words about family were illustrated by photographs on her desk: her 1947 black and white wedding picture, the official photograph to commemorate the 70th wedding anniversary this November and portraits of her great grandchildren Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Elizabeth and Philip missed last year's service with the flu.

"I don't know that anyone had invented the term "platinum" for a 70th wedding anniversary when I was born", she said.

And she hinted at the arrival of new family members, with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry planning to marry in May, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge expecting their third child in April.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have joined members of the Royal Family for the Morning Service on Christmas Day in Sandringham.

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