The Queen has used her Christmas broadcast to respond to the outpouring of affection and enthusiasm shown by the nation during her Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
She described how she was left humbled by the huge crowds that turned out to mark her historic milestone.
As her momentous year draws to a close, she said she was struck by the "strength of fellowship and friendship" shown by well-wishers, most memorably during the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant when more than a million people lined the banks of the river.
Despite the cold conditions and persistent downpours, the crowds who witnessed the once-in-a-lifetime flotilla were "undaunted by the rain", she said in her address.
The Olympic and Paralympic Games were another highlight of 2012 for the Queen. She paid tribute to the athletes, Olympic torch bearers and volunteer Games Makers for either inspiring the nation with their efforts or devoting themselves to others.
The message, produced by Sky News, was broadcast in 3D for the first time and elements of the footage appeared to leap out from the screen. It was also shown in HD and standard definition.
The broadcast featured panoramic shots of hundreds of boats, tugs, ships, cruisers and canoes sailing down river past the Houses of Parliament during the pageant staged as part of the national celebrations in June.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry were shown waving to the crowds, while well-wishers stood on the riverbanks drenched by the downpours but still clearly enjoying themselves. In a lighthearted moment the Duke of Edinburgh was featured jigging along to a nautical tune, as other royals, including the Prince of Wales and the Queen, also enjoyed the music.
A number of Olympic torch bearers were shown including paratrooper Ben Parkinson, considered the most seriously wounded soldier to survive the war in Afghanistan, who carried the flame through his home town of Doncaster, South Yorkshire, in June. Lance Bombardier Parkinson lost both legs and suffered brain and back injuries in a bomb attack in 2006, and was cheered by thousands as he slowly made his way along the route.
The Queen, who wore a fine silk tulle gown by Angela Kelly for the broadcast, said: "For many, Christmas is also a time for coming together. But for others, service will come first. Those serving in our Armed Forces, in our emergency services and in our hospitals, whose sense of duty takes them away from family and friends, will be missing those they love."