The Queen has delivered her most personal Christmas message ever today.

Speaking from Windsor Castle, the 95-year-old monarch paid a moving tribute to her ‘beloved Philip’, who died aged 99 in April.

Remarking that ‘one familiar laugh (was) missing’ this festive season – her first without him in 73 years – she described how the Duke of Edinburgh’s ‘mischievous, enquiring twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him’.

The head of state also reached out to the millions of people affected by the pandemic, and those who have lost loved ones this year.

Read her entire Christmas Day message below.

The Queen has delivered her most personal Christmas message ever today. Speaking from Windsor Castle, the 95-year-old monarch paid a moving tribute to her ‘beloved Philip’, who died aged 99 in April

Today, the Queen delivered her most intimate Christmas message. Speaking from Windsor Castle, the 95-year-old monarch paid a moving tribute to her ‘beloved Philip’, who died aged 99 in April 

The Central Band of the Royal British Legion performing during the broadcast in the grounds of Windsor Castle

The Central Band of the Royal British Legion performs during the broadcast on the grounds of Windsor Castle

The Singology Community Choir performing for the broadcast inside St George's Hall in Windsor Castle

Singology Community Choir performs for broadcast at St George’s Hall, Windsor Castle

Although it’s a time of great happiness and good cheer for many, Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones.

This is why I am so happy.

But for me, in the months since the death of my beloved Philip, I have drawn great comfort from the warmth and affection of the many tributes to his life and work – from around the country, the Commonwealth and the world.

It was impossible to ignore his passion for service, intellectual curiosity, and ability to find the fun in any situation.

His mischievous and curious twinkle was just as brilliant at the end of our conversation as it was when we first met him.

But life, of course, consists of final partings as well as first meetings – and as much as I and my family miss him, I know he would want us to enjoy Christmas.

He was there as we, along with millions across the globe, prepared ourselves for Christmas.

While Covid again means we can’t celebrate quite as we may have wished, we can still enjoy the many happy traditions.

Be it the singing of carols – as long as the tune is well known – decorating the tree, giving and receiving presents, or watching a favourite film where we already know the ending, it’s no surprise that families so often treasure their Christmas routines.

Our children see their parents and families embrace our values and traditions. These are sometimes updated to reflect changing times.

It is something I can see in my family, and it brings me great joy.

The sense that the baton should be passed was an important part of Prince Philip’s life.

That’s why he created The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which offers young people throughout the Commonwealth and beyond the chance of exploration and adventure.

This remarkable success is still rooted in faith for the future.

He was also an early champion of taking seriously our stewardship of the environment, and I am proud beyond words that his pioneering work has been taken on and magnified by our eldest son Charles and his eldest son William – admirably supported by Camilla and Catherine – most recently at the COP climate change summit in Glasgow.

The Commonwealth Games are next year’s highlight.

The baton travels the length of the Commonwealth and is heading toward Birmingham as a beacon for hope.

This will allow us to recognize the accomplishments of athletes as well as the joining of nations with like minds.

And February, just six weeks from now, will see the start of my Platinum Jubilee year, which I hope will be an opportunity for people everywhere to enjoy a sense of togetherness, a chance to give thanks for the enormous changes of the last 70 years – social, scientific and cultural – and also to look ahead with confidence.

Someone will probably comment that Christmas is a time to be jolly.

It’s an engaging truth, but only half the story.

Perhaps it’s truer to say that Christmas can speak to the child within us all.

Sometimes adults lose sight of the simple joys in everyday life when they are overwhelmed with worry. Children see this differently.

For me, my family and I, even though we lost one laugh this year, Christmas will bring us joy as we get the opportunity to reflect on the past and to see the holiday season through our kids’ eyes. This year we are thrilled to have welcomed four more.

They teach us all a lesson – just as the Christmas story does – that in the birth of a child, there is a new dawn with endless potential.

It is this simplicity of the Christmas story that makes it so universally appealing, simple happenings that formed the starting point of the life of Jesus – a man whose teachings have been handed down from generation to generation, and have been the bedrock of my faith.

His birth was a sign of a new beginning.

As the carol says: ‘The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.’

Merry Christmas to you all!