LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II is using her annual Christmas message to pay tribute to the way the cities of London and Manchester pulled together after extremist attacks this year.
Remarks pre-recorded by the 91-year-old monarch will be broadcast on Christmas Day in the United Kingdom, Canada and the other Commonwealth countries.
The Queen praised Manchester, hit by a suicide bomber in May, and London, which endured attacks on Parliament, London Bridge and other landmarks.
She said the cities' "powerful identities shone through over the past 12 months in the face of appalling attacks."
She added it was her privilege to visit young survivors of the attack on a Manchester concert hall as they were recovering from the blast which claimed 22 lives.
"I describe that hospital visit as a 'privilege' because the patients I met were an example to us all, showing extraordinary bravery and resilience," she said.
Queen Elizabeth also paid tribute to her husband, who this year stepped down from most public duties because of his advancing years. She praised him for his "support and unique sense of humour.''
The Queen, her husband, Prince Philip, and family members attended a church service Monday on the grounds of Elizabeth's country estate in Sandringham. Some mingled with locals who came to watch them arrive at church.
The royal family had a private lunch scheduled afterward. This is the first Christmas the family was joined by Prince Harry's fiancee, American actress Meghan Markle.
The Queen said in her brief broadcast that the Royal Family looks forward "to welcoming new members into it next year."
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