Queen hails un­sung he­roes in Christ­mas mes­sage

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By AGENCE FRANCEPRESSE in London

Queen El­iz­a­beth II will pay trib­ute to in­spi­ra­tional un­sung he­roes in her Christ­mas Day broad­cast to the Com­mon­wealth on Sun­day.

The 90-year-old monarch will put the fo­cus on “or­di­nary peo­ple do­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary things”, ac­cord­ing to the text of her an­nual mes­sage.

The monarch will urge peo­ple to achieve “small things with great love” in the speech, which is an in­te­gral part of Christ­mas Day tra­di­tions in Bri­tain, and for mil­lions around the world.

“I of­ten draw strength from meet­ing or­di­nary peo­ple do­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary things: vol­un­teers, car­ers, com­mu­nity or­ga­niz­ers and good neigh­bors; un­sung he­roes whose quiet ded­i­ca­tion makes them spe­cial,” she said, in the pre­re­corded mes­sage.

“They are an in­spi­ra­tion to those who know them, and their lives fre­quently em­body a truth ex­pressed by Mother Teresa.

“She once said: ‘Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love’.”

Re­call­ing the Rio 2016 Olympics, Queen El­iz­a­beth was to pay trib­ute to Bri­tain’s 67 medal­ists who pro­pelled the coun­try to sec­ond in the medals ta­ble — the na­tion’s best per­for­mance in an away Games.

“There was a time when Bri­tish Olympic medal win­ners be­came house­hold names be­cause there were so few of them,” she said.

She said the ath­letes spoke of be­ing in­spired by pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions, and were now in­spir­ing the next.

The monarch also sin­gled out Gre­nada, the Ba­hamas, Ja­maica and New Zealand — four coun­tries where she is also queen — which won more Olympic medals per head of pop­u­la­tion than other na­tions.

Though she re­called the Games and her 90th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions, the head of state did not men­tion the ref­er­en­dum in which Bri­tain voted to leave the Euro­pean Union, the dom­i­nat­ing fea­ture of 2016 in the UK.

She chose to fo­cus on smaller-scale de­ci­sions in­stead.

“Even with the in­spi­ra­tion of oth­ers, it’s un­der­stand­able that we some­times think the world’s prob­lems are so big that we can do lit­tle to help,” she said.

“On our own, we can­not end wars or wipe out in­jus­tice, but the cu­mu­la­tive im­pact of thou­sands of small acts of good­ness can be big­ger than we imag­ine.”

A heavy cold will keep the queen from at­tend­ing the tra­di­tional Christ­mas morn­ing church ser­vice near her San­dring­ham es­tate in ru­ral Nor­folk, Eng­land.

It is ex­tremely rare for the queen to miss the ser­vice, which is a corner­stone of the royal fam­ily’s Christ­mas cel­e­bra­tions and brings the monarch into con­tact with lo­cal res­i­dents.

YUI MOK / AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Queen El­iz­a­beth sits at a desk in Buck­ing­ham Palace af­ter record­ing her Christ­mas Day broad­cast.

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