From our royal correspondent, Clive Midhurst.
For the first time in 28 years the Queen was not able to attend church at Sandringham this morning as she hasn’t yet recovered from a heavy cold.
However, in her pre-recorded Christmas speech, Her Majesty gave a message that we can all draw inspiration from in these times of financial and social hardship for ordinary people.
Her annual Christmas message pays tribute to the country’s “unsung heroes”.
In it, Her Majesty emphasised the theme of inspiration, as she reflected on the achievements of the UK’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
The Queen, whose speech was recorded in the Regency Room at Buckingham Palace, noted that the athletes – particularly the Paralympians – had discovered abilities they scarcely knew they had and that these athletes are now inspiring others.
She spoke of the “inspirational work” of charities of which she has been patron, together with the achievements of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and The Prince’s Trust.
Her Majesty said that she often drew strength from meeting ordinary people doing extraordinary things such as volunteers, carers, community organisers and good neighbours; unsung heroes whose quiet dedication makes them special. She also said that they were an inspiration to those who know them.
Prime Minister Theresa May, in her Christmas Eve address, urged the country to reunite after a year of deep divisions over Brexit.
Mrs May urged the nation to “come together” and help make a success of the decision to exit the European Union.
She said that as we leave the European Union, we need to seize a historic opportunity to build a new role for ourselves in the world and to unite our country as we move forward into the future.
She said that we must work with our international partners to increase trade and prosperity, emphasising the need to face the challenges to peace and security around the world.
The Queen was said to be rather surprised and disappointed that Mrs May refused to discuss her plans for Brexit with her at their weekly meeting. Normally as head of state, she is briefed on the government’s actions which leads many to believe that the reason Mrs May has remained, and continues to remain, tight-lipped on the matter is because she doesn’t, as yet, have a clear exit strategy.
However, the Prime Minister emphasised on Friday that she has the “greatest respect” for the Queen and promised to share details about her plans for Brexit as soon as possible.