Queen Elizabeth II plans to acknowledge that both Britain and her family have endured a difficult year by saying during her Christmas message that it has been a "bumpy" time. The pre-recorded message will be broadcast in Britain and the Commonwealth nations on Christmas Day. It was recorded before the queen's husband, Prince Philip, was hospitalized in London on Friday as a precautionary measure. Excerpts released by Buckingham Palace before the speech show the queen admits difficulties during the course of the year, the AP reports. Talking about the need for reconciliation and forgiveness, Elizabeth says: "The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference."
She is thought to be referring both to Britain's tortuous path out of the European Union, and to the royal family's setbacks. The problems facing the queen's family this year included Prince Andrew's retreat from public duties because of a disastrous TV interview in which he defended his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The family has also endured a public rift between Prince William and Prince Harry, who has traveled with his wife Meghan and young son Archie to Canada rather than spend the Christmas holidays at Sandringham Estate—the queen's rural retreat, as has long been customary for senior royals. Philip, 98, was released from the hospital Tuesday morning after being treated for what Buckingham Palace called a "pre-existing condition."
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