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King Charles hails 'solidarity' in first Christmas message

December 25, 2022

In his first Christmas Day message as monarch, King Charles III has hailed the "heartfelt solidarity" of people across the recession-hit UK as it struggles with a deepening cost of living crisis.

King Charles III delivers the Christmas message
King Charles III delivered the Christmas message from St George's ChapelImage: Victoria Jones/dpa/picture alliance

Britain's King Charles III spoke about his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in his first Christmas message to the nation as monarch on Sunday.

He also hailed the "heartfelt solidarity" of people across the UK amid rising costs that are causing increasing hardship to many.

He spoke from St George's Chapel, the final resting place of the late queen and the same spot where Elizabeth delivered a Christmas message in 1999.

Standing aside a sparkling Christmas tree, he noted that it is a "particularly poignant time for all of us who have lost loved ones."

Charles ascended the throne immediately after the queen's death in September. His coronation ceremony is scheduled for May 2023.

He also took over as head of state of 14 Commonwealth countries, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Who is King Charles III?

Praising solidarity

The king's speech capped another chaotic year for Britain, which is reeling from the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit.

In 2022 the nation had three prime ministers within two months and now faces an economic recession and cost-of-living crisis.

In his address, Charles commended ordinary people for their generosity and charities for their "extraordinary work in the most difficult circumstances."

"I particularly want to pay tribute to all those wonderfully kind people who so generously give food or donations, or ... their time, to support those around them in greatest need," Charles said.

He also added: "Such heartfelt solidarity is the most inspiring expression of loving our neighbor as our self."

No mention of Harry

Charles noted in his speech how his son, William, the heir to the throne, and William's wife, Kate, had visited Wales recently, "shining a light" on examples of community spirit.

But he made no mention of William's brother, Harry, or his wife, Meghan, whotook part in a documentary this month in which the couple portrayed the royal family as an institution unconcerned about their mental well-being.

The six-minute message concluded with an appeal to heed "the everlasting light," which, Charles said, was a key aspect of Elizabeth's faith in God and belief in people.

dh/jcg (AP, AFP, Reuters)