Britain: solidarity at the heart of King Charles III’s first Christmas message

The first words that were eagerly awaited. King Charles III made his first speech since taking the throne. Dressed in a blue suit, the 74-year-old ruler spoke from St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where his mother Elizabeth II, who reigned for more than seven decades before her death on September 8, rests aged 96, and her father Prince Philip. “I can’t thank you enough for the love and sympathy you have shown our whole family,” he said, stressing how emotional Christmas is for “all those who have lost loved ones”. He praised the military and emergency services “who work tirelessly” for the country’s security, as well as health workers, while the nurses recently observed an unprecedented strike.

“I especially want to pay tribute to all the wonderfully kind people who so generously ‘donate’ ‘food’, ‘money’ or their ‘precious’ ‘time'”, he added in these times of “great concern and trials”. The king quoted those facing war, hunger or natural disasters, as well as those “here looking for ways to pay their bills or feed and heat their families”, as inflation approaches 11%. “Such heartfelt solidarity is the most inspiring expression of loving your neighbor as yourself,” he said. “Whatever your faith, or whether you have none, it is in this life-giving light and with the true humility that lies in the service of others that I believe ​​we can find hope for the future”, he added, wishing a “Christmas of peace, happiness and eternal light”.

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The highlight of the year

The Christmas Message is one of the major annual appointments for British sovereigns, featuring the Address to Parliament and the monarch’s official birthday. In the morning, the royal family attended Christmas Mass in Sandringham (East), reviving a tradition interrupted since 2019 by the pandemic. With Prince Andrew paying millions in the US to avoid a trial for sexual assault. Harry and Meghan, who talked about their departure from the monarchy in a documentary series on Netflix, were absent. Charles III will be crowned king on May 6 at Westminster Abbey, in a ceremony ‘forward-looking’ while rooted ‘in the long tradition and pomp of the monarchy’, according to Buckingham Palace.

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