UK royal Christmas: Church, lunch and the queen's message

Published 12-25-2018

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SANDRINGHAM, England (AP) - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II wove personal reflections into her annual Christmas message, offering the customary wishes for peace and saying she hoped she had attained a measure of wisdom during her 92 years.

"Some cultures believe a long life brings wisdom," Elizabeth said in a pre-recorded message broadcast Tuesday. "I'd like to think so. Perhaps part of that wisdom is to recognize some of life's baffling paradoxes, such as the way human beings have a huge propensity for good and yet a capacity for evil."

On a lighter note, the queen noted that 2018 was a busy year for her family: two weddings, two new babies and another due next year.

"It helps to keep a grandmother well occupied," she said.

The annual message was broadcast to many of the 53 Commonwealth countries after the queen and senior royals attended a church service on the outskirts of one of her country estates.

Elizabeth and other members of the British royal family received cheers from a Christmas crowd when they arrived.

A chauffeured limousine delivered the 92-year-old Elizabeth to St. Mary Magdalene Church, while younger royals walked from nearby Sandringham House.

Prince Charles led the way, followed by his sons: Prince William and his wife, Catherine, and Prince Harry and his pregnant wife, Meghan.

Harry and Meghan, who are expecting their first child in the spring, walked arm in arm next to William and Catherine. Many in the crowd wished them "Merry Christmas" as they strolled to the church in the English countryside on a cold, wintry morning.

During the service, the congregation sang the traditional carols "O Little Town Of Bethlehem," ''Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and "O Come All Ye Faithful."

After the 45-minute service, people

A chauffeured limousine delivered the 92-year-old Elizabeth to St. Mary Magdalene Church, while younger royals walked from nearby Sandringham House.

Prince Charles led the way, followed by his sons: Prince William and his wife, Catherine, and Prince Harry and his pregnant wife, Meghan.

Harry and Meghan, who are expecting their first child in the spring, walked arm in arm next to William and Catherine. Many in the crowd wished them "Merry Christmas" as they strolled to the church in the English countryside on a cold, wintry morning.

During the service, the congregation sang the traditional carols "O Little Town Of Bethlehem," ''Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and "O Come All Ye Faithful."

After the 45-minute service, people gave them flowers as they headed back for a traditional Christmas lunch.

The queen's husband, Prince Philip, who is 97 and largely retired from public life, did not attend the service. Charles' wife Camilla, who is recovering from flu, also missed church.

William and Catherine's three children - Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 3, and 8-month-old Prince Louis, also stayed home.

Prince Andrew, the queen's son, arrived by car with his mother. Princess Eugenie, another of the queen's grandchildren, arrived with husband Jack Brooksbank.

Britain's royals usually exchange smal

Harry and Meghan, who are expecting their first child in the spring, walked arm in arm next to William and Catherine. Many in the crowd wished them "Merry Christmas" as they strolled to the church in the English countryside on a cold, wintry morning.

During the service, the congregation sang the traditional carols "O Little Town Of Bethlehem," ''Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and "O Come All Ye Faithful."

After the 45-minute service, people gave them flowers as they headed back for a traditional Christmas lunch.

The queen's husband, Prince Philip, who is 97 and largely retired from public life, did not attend the service. Charles' wife Camilla, who is recovering from flu, also missed church.

William and Catherine's three children - Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 3, and 8-month-old Prince Louis, also stayed home.

Prince Andrew, the queen's son, arrived by car with his mother. Princess Eugenie, another of the queen's grandchildren, arrived with husband Jack Brooksbank.

Britain's royals usually exchange small gifts on Christmas Eve, a practice popularized by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The queen typically frowns on extravagant gifts, and many of the presents are novelty items.

When the queen was younger, Christmas meant a brisk family walk through the woods on Christmas or an excursion on horseback.

Elizabeth made her first Christmas Day broadcast on the radio in 1952, the year she ascended to the throne. She made the move to television in 1957.

She has broadcast the message each year since, with the exception of 1969. The queen felt the royal family had gotten enough TV exposure that year while allowing unusual access for a TV documentary.

That year, the message only appeared in writing.

___

Katz reported from London.

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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II leaves after attending the Christmas day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) - The Associated Press


Britain's Prince William, left, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, second left, Meghan Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, right, arrive to attend the Christmas day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein) - The Associated Press


Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex meets members of the crowd after attending the Christmas day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) - The Associated Press


Britain's Kate, Duchess of Cambridge smiles as she meets members of the crowd after attending the Christmas day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein) - The Associated Press


Britain's Queen Elizabeth II leaves after attending the Christmas day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein) - The Associated Press


Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrives to attend the Christmas day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein) - The Associated Press


In this image released on Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018, Britain's Queen Elizabeth poses for a photograph after she recorded her annual Christmas Day message, in the White Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace, London. (John Stillwell/Pool via AP) - The Associated Press


Britain's Prince Charles leaves after attending the Christmas day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) - The Associated Press


Britain's Queen Elizabeth II leaves after attending the Christmas day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein) - The Associated Press


Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave after attending the Christmas day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) - The Associated Press


Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex meet members of the crowd after attending the Christmas day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) - The Associated Press


Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex leave after attending the Christmas day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) - The Associated Press


Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex meets members of the crowd after attending the Christmas day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) - The Associated Press


Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex meet members of the crowd after attending the Christmas day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) - The Associated Press


Britain's Prince Harry, stands with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex as she does a curtsy to Britain's Queen Elizabeth II as she leaves in a car after attending the Christmas day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein) - The Associated Press


Britain's Kate, Duchess of Cambridge meets members of the crowd after attending the Christmas day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein) - The Associated Press


Britain's Kate, Duchess of Cambridge smiles as she meets members of the crowd after attending the Christmas day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein) - The Associated Press


Britain's Prince William, and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge wave to the crowd after attending the Christmas day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2018. (AP PhotoFrank Augstein) - The Associated Press