0 Queen Elizabeth II Christmas Message 2011
In times of hardship we often "find strength from our families" and in a crisis communities "break down barriers and bind together" to help each other,
She added that "sadly" it sometimes took a tragedy to bring out valued qualities from within an individual.
a joyous occasion for the monarchy and celebrated by up to a million people on the streets of London - reinforced to the Queen the importance of relatives in happy times.
She said: "The importance of family has, of course, come home to Prince Philip and me personally this year with the marriages of two of our grandchildren, each in their own way a celebration of the God-given love that binds a family together." As she spoke, footage was shown of the two weddings, first Zara and Tindall moments after they emerged from Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh where they exchanged vows in July.
"For many this Christmas will not be easy. With our Armed Forces deployed around the world, thousands of service families face Christmas without their loved ones at home," she said.
"The bereaved and the lonely will find it especially hard. And, as we all know, the world is going through difficult times."
The Queen is without her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, by her side at Sandringham this Christmas as he is recuperating in hospital following treatment for a blocked coronary artery.
The Queen began her Christmas address by highlighting how recent natural disasters had brought out the best in people.
She said: "In this past year my family and I have been inspired by the courage and hope we have seen in so many ways in Britain, in the Commonwealth and around the world.
"We've seen that it's in hardship that we often find strength from our families; it's in adversity that new friendships are sometimes formed; and it's in a crisis that communities break down barriers and bind together to help one another.
"Families, friends and communities often find a source of courage rising up from within. Indeed, sadly, it seems that it is tragedy that often draws out the most and the best from the human spirit."
The Queen illustrated her comments by highlighting how, earlier this year, natural disasters in Australia and New Zealand
Speaking as the pictures were screened, the Queen said: "We were moved by the way families and local communities held together to support each other."
Images of flood waters were shown which then moved on to William's March visit to New Zealand to meet emergency services who dealt with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake which struck in February.
The Duke was seen standing in the shadow of the ruined Christchurch Cathedral and also meeting fire crews.
His father, the Prince of Wales, was shown in a community centre in South Wales last month, chatting to key emergency personnel who took part in efforts to save four trapped miners killed when water engulfed the Gleision Colliery near Pontardawe in September.
For the broadcast the Queen chose to wear a strawberry red dress by Angela Kelly with her diamond and platinum Flame Lily brooch, a 21st birthday present from the children of Southern Rhodesia.
She stood in front of a large decorated Christmas tree, with a table in the foreground bearing a collection of four family photographs.
There was a group shot of a youthful Princess Royal, former husband Captain Mark Phillips and their son Peter as a boy, the Queen's father George VI, her granddaughter Lady Louise Windsor in a cardboard box, and another picture of a young Peter Phillips.
Around the room, used for audiences with ambassadors and foreign prime ministers, were other photographs of the Queen Mother, Charles, the Queen and Philip.
The Queen's historic state visit to Ireland in May - the first by a British sovereign since the Republic gained independence - was an example of the bond between friends, whether individuals or countries.
"The spirit of friendship so evident in both these nations can fill us all with hope. Relationships that years ago were once so strained have through sorrow and forgiveness blossomed into long- term friendship," said the Queen.
"It is through this lens of history that we should view the conflicts of today, and so give us hope for tomorrow."
The Queen said: "Although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves - from our recklessness or our greed.
"God sent into the world a unique person - neither a philosopher nor a general, important though they are, but a saviour, with the power to forgive.
"Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God's love."
By: HailToTheSkunk (680.40)
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Location: London, United Kingdom (UK/GB)