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Message of Jesus needed as much as ever, Queen says

by Press Association

With parliament deeply divided over Theresa May's Brexit deal and military conflicts still raging in parts of the world, the monarch's words are likely to resonate with many.

Politicians on all sides have engaged in bitter wrangling for weeks as the date for Britain leaving the EU - March 29 next year - draws ever closer.

In the broadcast, recorded in Buckingham Palace's white drawing room, the monarch will highlight Jesus's message - often cited at Christmas.

The Queen, 92, will say: "I believe his message of peace on earth and goodwill to all is never out of date. It can be heeded by everyone; it's needed as much as ever."

During her address the monarch will also highlight the importance of people with strongly opposing views bridging the gap between one another, by being civil and acting with common decency.

The Queen will say: "Even with the most deeply-held differences, treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step towards greater understanding."

As head of state, the Queen remains publicly neutral when it comes to political matters and does not express her views on issues.

But some commentators may interpret her words as a veiled reference to the toxic mood of the public debate around Britain leaving the EU.

The broadcast was recorded on December 12 before the Prime Minister and Jeremy Corbyn's angry Commons clash which, with Brexit at its root, saw the Labour leader accused of calling Mrs May a "stupid woman", something he denied.

The address is written by the Queen and traditionally has a strong religious framework, mirroring her faith, which reflects on current issues and draws on her own experiences over the past year.

Highlights of 2018 range from England reaching the football World Cup semi-finals to the royal weddings of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank.

In her message to the nation, the Queen will also highlight the importance of her loved ones around her and her strong Christian beliefs.

She will say: "...through the many changes I have seen over the years, faith, family and friendship have been not only a constant for me but a source of personal comfort and reassurance."

During her 66-year reign, the monarch has been served by 13 prime ministers, from Sir Winston Churchill to Mrs May, while Donald Trump is the 13th US president to hold office over the same period.

Over the decades, Britain has undergone major transformations from technological advances like personal computers, the internet and supersonic flight to developments in society and the political landscape.

Now in her 93rd year, the monarch has eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, with an eighth on the way as Harry and Meghan are expecting their first child in the spring.

During the broadcast, produced this year by Sky News, the head of state wears an Angela Kelly ivory silk cocktail dress. The Queen's outfit also features her gold Scarab brooch, with ruby and diamond embellishments, a 1966 gift from the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Queen is sat at a desk featuring a framed black and white photograph taken in 1948 of herself as a young Princess Elizabeth, along with Philip and a baby Prince Charles.

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