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Queen pays tribute to terror attack survivors in Christmas message

The monarch’s message to the nation and the Commonwealth used “home” as its theme.

The Queen has used her Christmas message to pay tribute to the Manchester terrorist attack survivors, to remember those killed in the Grenfell Tower fire, and to acknowledge a future member of her family, Meghan Markle.

In her televised address, the monarch described meeting the Manchester attack survivors in May as a “privilege” and she praised emergency services workers who put their lives at risk saving others.

“I describe that hospital visit as a ‘privilege’ because the patients I met were an example to us all, showing extraordinary bravery and resilience,” she said.

A framed photograph of Ms Markle and fiance Prince Harry was displayed with other family pictures as the monarch spoke, and the couple also featured in video footage aired at the end of the festive broadcast.

In an apparent reference to the couple’s wedding next May, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s baby, expected in April, the Queen said this Christmas her family “…look forward to welcoming new members into it next year”.

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(John Stillwell/PA)

The Queen also reflected with humour on milestones in her own life, from celebrating her 70th wedding anniversary in November, to the Duke of Edinburgh’s decision to step down from solo public duties.

She said: “I don’t know that anyone had invented the term ‘platinum’ for a 70th wedding anniversary when I was born. You weren’t expected to be around that long.

“Even Prince Philip has decided it’s time to slow down a little, having, as he economically put it, ‘done his bit’.”

“Home” was the theme of his year’s Christmas message, recorded at Buckingham Palace, and she highlighted how the “powerful identities” of London and Manchester had shone through in the face of “appalling attacks” this year.

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The Queen paid tribute to Prince Philip (Bruce Adams/Daily Mail/PA)

Footage was shown of the Queen meeting teenage survivors of the suicide bombing which killed 22 people when an attacker detonated an explosive device as fans left a Manchester Arena concert by US singer Ariana Grande.

The Queen was shown at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital chatting to Millie Robson, 15, from Co Durham, and her mother, Marie, and Evie Mills, 14, from Harrogate, and her mother Karen, and father Craig.

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.

“And here in London, who can forget the sheer awfulness of the Grenfell Tower fire?” said the Queen, as footage was shown of the monarch and Duke of Cambridge meeting emergency services workers close to the site of the inferno which claimed 71 lives.

The Queen added: “Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who died and those who lost so much; and we are indebted to members of the emergency services who risked their own lives, this past year, saving others.”

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From Belfast Telegraph