Queen's Christmas message one of reflection

LONDON: The Queen has urged people to take the time for quiet reflection in 2014, in her annual Christmas Day message to the Commonwealth.

The monarch looked back on her own six decades as Queen, in a personal broadcast on Christmas Day.

And the 87-year-old also looked forward to the future, saying her baby great-grandson Prince George - third in line to inherit the thrones of 16 Commonwealth realms - was likewise set for a lifetime of service and duty.

She also tried to soothe tensions evident at last month's Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka, which was dominated by allegations of war crimes against the hosts.

"We all need to get the balance right between action and reflection," she said.

"With so many distractions, it is easy to forget to pause and take stock.

"Be it through contemplation, prayer, or even keeping a diary, many have found the practice of quiet personal reflection surprisingly rewarding."

She said the 60th anniversary of her coronation in June 1953 had made her reflect on her own lifelong pledges.

"Service and duty are not just the guiding principles of yesteryear; they have an enduring value which spans the generations," she said.

"The anniversary reminded me of the remarkable changes that have occurred since the coronation, many of them for the better; and of the things that have remained constant, such as the importance of family, friendship and good neighbourliness."

She said that, while people reminisce about lost loved ones at Christmas, baby births allow people to think about the future with renewed "happiness and hope".

"In the year ahead, I hope you will have time to pause for moments of quiet reflection," she concluded.

"The results can sometimes be surprising." AFP

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