Queen says ‘one familiar laugh missing’ in first Christmas speech since Philip

The Queen has made her first traditional Christmas speech today without the Duke of Edinburgh as she used it to pay tribute to “my beloved Philip”.

The late Prince Philip passed away in April this year and meant the Queen is spending her first Christmas without him.

Her Majesty spoke about the “great comfort” she has had from tributes to Philip and the work he did around the country, the Commonwealth and the world.

The Queen said: “His sense of service, intellectual curiosity and capacity to squeeze fun out of any situation – were all irrepressible.

“That mischievous, enquiring twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him.

“But life, of course, consists of final partings as well as first meetings – and as much as I and my family miss him, I know he would want us to enjoy Christmas.”

The Queen continued by saying the Royal Family “felt his presence as we, like millions around the world, readied ourselves for Christmas.”

Philip was also praised by the Queen for his work in the environment and for his work in creating the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

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The Queen said Philip was always “mindful” of passing the baton on and how pleased she was to see the next generation follow in his footsteps.

She continued: “He was also an early champion of taking seriously our stewardship of the environment, and I am proud beyond words that his pioneering work has been taken on and magnified by our eldest son Charles and his eldest son William – admirably supported by Camilla and Catherine – most recently at the COP climate change summit in Glasgow.”

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Her Majesty's plans were also hit with the fears of Omicron stopping her traditional Christmas day at Sandringham Palace with the rest of the family.

Instead, the Queen spent Christmas Day at Windsor Castle with Prince Charles and Camilla as guests.

As the palace reportedly decided to limit numbers, Prince William and Kate Middleton celebrated at Anmer Hall, a property on the Sandringham estate, with members of the Middleton Family.

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle also spent their first Christmas with Lilibet and Archie in their home in the US.

In her speech today, the Queen recognised how Covid had caused disruption once again for families across the UK.

She said: “While Covid again means we can’t celebrate quite as we may have wished, we can still enjoy the many happy traditions.

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“Be it the singing of carols – as long as the tune is well known – decorating the tree, giving and receiving presents, or watching a favourite film where we already know the ending, it’s no surprise that families so often treasure their Christmas routines.”

She added: “And for me and my family, even with one familiar laugh missing this year, there will be joy in Christmas, as we have the chance to reminisce, and see anew the wonder of the festive season through the eyes of our young children, of whom we were delighted to welcome four more this year.”

The Queen also mentioned her millstone Platinum Jubilee next year and how she hoped it would allow people to enjoy a sense of "togetherness".

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