It has been a busy year for the royal family, Queen Elizabeth said in her Tuesday afternoon sent out Christmas message. She pointed to the two weddings and two babies and the arrival of another baby next year. “That keeps a grandmother busy,” said the queen. “Some cultures believe that a long life brings wisdom. I would like to believe it”, according to the now 92-year-old Queen.

“Perhaps part of that wisdom is recognizing some of the bewildering paradoxes of life, such as the way in which human beings have a huge tendency to goodness, but also have a capacity for evil. Even the power of faith, which often inspires great generosity and self-sacrifice, can fall prey to tribalism.”

“But because of the many changes I’ve seen over the years, faith, family and friendship have not only been a constant for me, but a source of personal comfort and reassurance,” Elizabeth said. “Even with the deepest differences, the treatment of the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step towards greater understanding.”

Baby photo

She also remembered the celebration of the seventieth birthday of Prince Charles, of whom she had a 1949 baby photo on her table in the Buckingham Palace of White Drawing Room, where the speech had been recorded earlier.

The photo of Charles’ family taken this summer on the occasion of his birthday with his children and grandchildren also had a prominent place, alongside a photograph of Elizabeth’s father from the First World War. “At Christmas we become acutely aware of loved ones who have died regardless of the circumstances. But of course we would not mourn if we did not love,” said the Queen.

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