Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II spoke of how the Commonwealth is “a family of people in the truest sense” during her Christmas message.
In her annual televised speech, which was broadcast in the United Kingdom on Christmas Day, 25 December, the Queen said the Commonwealth’s 54-member nations “have always looked to the future, with a sense of camaraderie, warmth and mutual respect while still maintaining their individualism”.
“In this past year my family and I have been inspired by the courage and hope we have seen in so many ways in Britain, in the Commonwealth and around the world,” she said.
“We’ve seen that it is in hardship that we often find strength from our families; it is in adversity that new friendships are sometimes formed; and it is in a crisis that communities break down barriers and bind together to help one another.
“The Commonwealth is a family of 54 nations, all with a common bond, shared beliefs, mutual values and goals.
“It is this which makes the Commonwealth a family of people in the truest sense, at ease with each other, enjoying its shared history and ready and willing to support its members in the direst of circumstances.”
The Commonwealth will pay tribute to its shared and varied traditions through its Commonwealth Day theme, Connecting Cultures, celebrated on 12 March 2012.
During her speech, the Queen also spoke about her visit with Prince Philip to Australia where they saw the effects of natural disasters in some of the areas devastated by floods earlier this year. While in Australia, the Queen attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, held in Perth in October.
The Queen also recalled the marriages of two of her grandchildren this year and remembered those service families facing Christmas without their loved ones at home.