The Queen of England has stayed politically neutral in her 66 years on the throne. This has been a careful and deliberate stance over the decades. But in her Christmas message this year, Queen Elizabeth II appealed for people to show more respect to those with opposing views.
This message comes just three months before Britain is planning to leave the European Union because of deep political divisions.
“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,” the Queen said.
The 92-year-old also stated that the Christian message of “peace on earth and goodwill to all” is timeless, and “needed as much as ever.”
The Queen never wavers from her politically neutral stance and she does not mention Brexit directly. But her message ended a year in which the divisions over the issue have widened. The message also comes at a time when national populists surge across Europe and as US President Donald Trump continues to create division for political gain.
The statement features Queen Elizabeth II sitting at a desk in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace. There is a black-and-white photograph of her, Prince Philip and Prince Charles as a baby.
The queen is wearing an ivory silk dress designed by Angela Kelly and a yellow gold brooch with carved ruby and diamond embellishments designed by Andrew Grima. It was a gift from The Duke of Edinburgh in 1966.
The monarch also mentioned the royal weddings and births that have taken place this year.
“It’s been a busy year for my family, with two weddings and two babies, and another child expected soon,” she said. “It helps to keep a grandmother well occupied.”
The Queen referenced the Christmas story and said it retained its appeal.
“I believe his message of peace on earth and goodwill to all is never out of date.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.”