King Charles pays tribute to those who help others in times of hardship

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King Charles III has paid tribute to charities, community groups and public sector workers helping people “at this time of great anxiety and hardship” as the British monarch gave his first Christmas message to the nation.

He was speaking from St George’s Chapel, Windsor, where his mother Elizabeth II was buried in the autumn and where his father, the late Duke of Edinburgh — who died in 2021 — was also laid to rest.

The death of the Queen in September, at the age of 96, reverberated around the world, marking a watershed moment in the life of the nation after 70 years on the throne. She started the tradition of televised messages to the country in 1957, although her father George V made the first royal Christmas broadcast on radio in 1932 — with a script by Rudyard Kipling.

King Charles said the chapel he was speaking from was “so close to where my beloved mother, the late Queen, is laid to rest with my dear father”, adding that Christmas was a particularly poignant time for “all of us” who had lost loved ones.

“I am reminded of the deeply touching letters, cards and messages which so many of you have sent my wife and myself and I cannot thank you enough for the love and sympathy you have shown our whole family.”

The monarch said that his mother had an essential faith in God but also a “faith in people” which he entirely shared.

Dressed in a blue suit — and standing in front of a Christmas tree with plastic-free decorations — the King praised the selfless dedication of the armed forces and emergency services who worked tirelessly to keep the public safe.

“We see it in our health and social care professionals, our teachers and indeed all those working in public service, whose skill and commitment are at the heart of our communities,” he observed as a wave of strikes takes place across Britain, many involving public sector workers.

The King applauded people across the Commonwealth who were prepared to respond to the plight of others suffering from hardship, conflict, famine or natural disaster or struggling to pay their bills.

“I particularly want to pay tribute to all those wonderfully kind people who so generously give food or donations, or that most precious commodity of all, their time, to support those around them in greatest need, together with the many charitable organisations which do such extraordinary work in the most difficult circumstances,” he said.

“Our churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and gurdwaras, have once again united in feeding the hungry, providing love and support throughout the year. Such heartfelt solidarity is the most inspiring expression of loving our neighbour as our self.”

The King referred to his eldest son, Prince William, in his speech, saying that “the prince and princess of Wales” had recently made a successful public visit to Wales.

However there was no mention of Prince Harry, his second son, who has become increasingly estranged from the Royal Family and recently produced a critical Netflix series about the strained relationship.

The late Queen often recorded Christmas speeches at Windsor Castle or Buckingham Palace, but also broadcast from other locations ranging from Sandringham to the Royal Albert Hall.

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