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Queen in reflective mood - proud great-grandma also talks about Prince George

THE Queen has spoken about her great-grandson Prince George in her Christmas broadcast, and said the birth of a baby allows people to think about the future with renewed "happiness and hope".

In her traditional message to the nation, the Queen also made an observation about the future for new parents – "life will never be quite the same again".

The Queen's annual broadcast also featured behind-the-scenes footage taken at Clarence House as the royals posed for the christening pictures under the direction of celebrity portrait photographer Jason Bell.

Delivering her message, which was recorded earlier this month at Buckingham Palace, the Queen said: "Here at home my own family is a little larger this Christmas. As so many of you will know, the arrival of a baby gives everyone the chance to contemplate the future with renewed happiness and hope.

"For the new parents, life will never be quite the same again."

These words were accompanied by footage of William bouncing George up and down in his arms with Kate by his side outside the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace, ahead of their son's christening.

The main theme of the Queen's seasonal message to the nation was reflection and she looked back over the past 12 months to the 60th anniversary of her coronation, celebrated with a national service in June.

"We all need to get the balance right between action and reflection. With so many distractions, it is easy to forget to pause and take stock." she said.

Those who are not with their families this Christmas were in the Queen's thoughts, from servicemen and women on operations abroad to emergency service workers.

Speaking about members of the armed forces serving overseas, the Queen said: "We are forever grateful to all those who put themselves at risk to keep us safe."

Meanwhile, Pope Francis, in his first Christmas Day speech since being elected in March, spoke of his hopes for a better world, including successful Middle East negotiations in the land of Jesus's birth, peace for Syria, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Nigeria and Iraq, and dignity for refugees fleeing misery and conflict.

From the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican to some 70,000 cheering tourists, pilgrims and Romans in the square below, he said: "True peace is not a balancing of opposing forces. It's not a lovely facade which conceals conflicts and divisions. Peace calls for daily commitment."

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