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Britain’s King Charles paid a heartfelt tribute to his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth, in his first Christmas broadcast as monarch on Sunday.

Speaking in a pre-recorded address from St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where the Queen was laid to rest alongside her husband Prince Philip, the new monarch thanked members of the public who have shown love and sympathy in her wake. death in September.

“I am reminded of the deeply moving letters, cards and messages that so many of you have sent my wife and I, and I cannot thank you enough for the love and compassion you have shown our entire family,” he said.

“Christmas is a particularly difficult time for all of us who have lost loved ones. We feel their absence at every familiar stage of the season and remember them in every cherished tradition.”

King Charles honored the Queen’s legacy throughout his speech, recalling her belief in the power of “eternal light” and her faith in people to touch the lives of others.

In “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” we sing of how “in your dark streets shines an everlasting light.” My mother’s faith in the power of that light was an essential part of her faith in God, but also her faith in people, and it is one that I share with all my heart. It is a belief in the extraordinary ability of every human being to touch the lives of others with kindness and compassion and to shine a light in the world around them,” he said.

“This is the essence of our community and the foundation of our society.”

Sunday’s message marks Britain’s first Christmas Day broadcast, which the Queen has not delivered since her first message in 1957. In his final Christmas speech last year, he spoke of “passing the baton” to the next generation.

King Charles also hinted at the war in Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis, speaking of “anxiety” and “difficulty” as people around the world face conflict while at home they struggle to pay their bills and “keep their families fed and warm”.

The King’s speech continues a royal family tradition that dates back 90 years and comes days after the Bank of England released the first images of the new monarch’s British banknotes.

King Charles’ portrait will appear on the £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes. Meanwhile, the rest of the design will remain the same as the current notes, which feature the late Queen Elizabeth on the front.

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