QUEEN: IT’S BEEN A BUMPY YEAR

Her Majesty’s ver­dict on tur­bu­lent time for us all

Daily Express - - Front Page - By Richard Palmer Royal Correspond­ent

THE Queen has spo­ken pub­licly for the first time about the Royal Fam­ily’s “bumpy” year.

In her Christ­mas Day mes­sage, she ad­mits 2019 has not been a vin­tage year for them – or the UK. The monarch,

who has re­peat­edly tried to heal di­vi­sions within the roy­als and the na­tion, de­scribes “how small steps taken in faith and in hope can over­come long-held dif­fer­ences to bring harmony and un­der­stand­ing”.

In the mes­sage, which will be tele­vised to­mor­row, Her Majesty, 93, adds: “The path, of course, is not al­ways smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of dif­fer­ence.”

Wear­ing a blue cash­mere dress by her favourite de­signer An­gela Kelly, the Queen can be seen sit­ting at a desk in front of a large Christ­mas tree, sur­rounded by pho­tos of her fam­ily.

She also chose to wear a sap­phire and di­a­mond brooch to mark the 200th an­niver­sary of Prince Al­bert’s birth.

The Prince Con­sort gave the be­jew­elled pin to Queen Vic­to­ria on the day be­fore their wed­ding in 1840.

En­e­mies

Em­pha­sis­ing her mes­sage of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, the monarch re­calls that in June, the UK hosted an in­ter­na­tional event in Portsmouth to mark the 75th an­niver­sary of D-Day.

It was at­tended by world lead­ers in­clud­ing US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, Canada’s Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau, Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel and French Pres­i­dent Em­manuel Macron.

The Queen says: “For the 75th an­niver­sary of that de­ci­sive bat­tle, in a true spirit of rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, those who had for­merly been sworn en­e­mies came to­gether in friendly com­mem­o­ra­tions ei­ther side of the Chan­nel, putting past dif­fer­ences be­hind them.”

She has spent the past few years urg­ing peo­ple with op­pos­ing views to find a com­pro­mise on Brexit.

Friends have also said that within her fam­ily, she has tried to act as a peace­maker – de­spite fac­ing some dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions.

Last month, she was forced to ask Prince An­drew to step back from public life after a dis­as­trous TV in­ter­view about his friend­ship with pae­dophile Jef­frey Ep­stein.

She also had to deal with trou­ble be­hind the scenes after the Duke and Duchess of Sus­sex pub­licly ad­mit­ted they were strug­gling in the public eye.

The Daily Ex­press re­vealed in Novem­ber that the Queen had tried to help the cou­ple, and reg­u­larly vis­its their home when she is stay­ing at Wind­sor. But sources have claimed Her Majesty has been dis­ap­pointed by the ap­proach of the Sus­sexes to their royal du­ties.

The Queen has also had to face her own con­tro­ver­sies this year.

In Septem­ber, she was dragged into a con­sti­tu­tional cri­sis after ap­prov­ing an un­law­ful sus­pen­sion of Par­lia­ment amid an in­creas­ingly toxic na­tional de­bate over Brexit.

The events of this year have prompted com­par­isons with 1997, when Princess Diana died and the monar­chy’s pop­u­lar­ity plunged.

How­ever, it has not come close to the Queen’s “an­nus hor­ri­bilis” of 1992, when three of her chil­dren’s mar­riages col­lapsed and Wind­sor Cas­tle went up in flames.

She is said to have missed hav­ing the Duke of Ed­in­burgh by her side to of­fer ad­vice for much of this tu­mul­tuous year. Yes­ter­day, Philip, 98, spent an­other day in hospi­tal after un­der­go­ing treat­ment for an undis­closed con­di­tion. He of­fi­cially re­tired in Au­gust 2017.

The Christ­mas Day mes­sage – in­tro­duced by the Queen’s grand­fa­ther Ge­orge V in 1932 – has been pro­duced by the BBC. It will be shown at 3pm.

The Queen recorded it at Wind­sor Cas­tle after the elec­tion but be­fore Philip was ad­mit­ted to King Ed­ward VII’s Hospi­tal.

Pic­ture: STEVE PAR­SONS/PA

Her Majesty in the Green Draw­ing Room at Wind­sor sur­rounded by fam­ily pho­tos

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