THE annual Christmas Day speech by the Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, which is broadcast to millions across the globe, had a distinctly green tint this year, with the relationship between Britain and Ireland a central theme of the broadcast.
In her 59th annual speech, which is broadcast across the UK and the Commonwealth, the queen referred to her historic visit in May, which was the first time a British monarch has set foot in the Republic of Ireland.
The queen also praised the relationship between Britain and America by referring to the visit of President Barack Obama, who also stopped off in Ireland earlier this year before heading to London.
Viewers across the Commonwealth tuned in as the queen said: “The spirit of friendship, so evident in both these nations, can fill us all with hope. Relationships that years ago were once so strained have through sorrow and forgiveness blossomed into long-term friendship. It is through the lens of history that we should view the conflicts of today and so give us hope for tomorrow.”
During her address, footage of Elizabeth’s visit to Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance was screened and showed the groundbreaking moment she laid a wreath in honor of Irish men and women who gave their lives in the fight to free themselves from British rule.
A royal visit to the Republic has been in the planning for years, but security concerns and political instability in the North had previously
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prevented it from taking place.
Meanwhile, the broadcast also featured a musical performance from the band of the Irish Guards regiment of the British army, which was formed in 1900 to commemorate the Irish soldiers killed during the Boer War.
Previous references to Ireland in the queen’s Christmas speech have focused on negative events during the Troubles, including the speech in 1987 which referred to the Enniskillen bombing, in which 11 people were killed during a Remembrance Sunday service.