Queen praises Manchester's powerful identity following Arena attack

HRH Queen Elizabeth arrives at King’s Lynn station on her way to spend Christmas at Sandringham

Queen Elizabeth II plans to use her Christmas message to praise London and Manchester for pulling together after extremist attacks this year.

She also paid a personal tribute to the "support and unique sense of humour" of her husband Prince Philip, who retired from solo public duties in 2017. "You weren't expected to be around that long", she said.

In Manchester a few months later 22 people - including children - were killed when a lone suicide attacker detonated an explosive device as crowds of music fans left Manchester Arena following a performance by USA singer Ariana Grande.

She then referred to London and Manchester, saying their powerful identities shone through in the past 12 months in the face of appalling attacks.

Rounding out a message about the home and family, the monarch continued her recent tradition of speaking openly about her Christian faith.

The Queen described a hospital visit immediately after the Manchester attack as "a privilege because the patients I met were an example to us all, showing extraordinary bravery and resilience".

The following month, eight people were killed when three men in a van ploughed into pedestrians on London Bridge before going on a knife attack in nearby Borough Market.

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"We think of our homes of places of warmth, familiarity and love, of shared stories and memories which is perhaps why at this time of year so many return to where they grew up", she said.

The queen began by introducing an excerpt from her first televised Christmas message, from 1957.

Wearing a brown coat and hat, boots and bag, Markle walked with future husband Harry, his brother Prince William and his wife Kate on their way to St Mary Magdalene Church for a Christmas morning service.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were welcomed by well-wishers as they joined other members of the royal family at a Christmas Day church service.

The couple celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary in November having been married at Westminster Abbey in 1947.

She also commended the country's emergency services, which have endured a hard year with a series of terror attacks in London.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived in Norfolk last week to kick off their traditional Christmas break, which they will spend on the Royal estate at Sandringham.

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