King Charles praises the ‘unity’ of the UK public in his first Christmas message | Daily News Byte

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LONDON (AFP) – In his first Christmas Day message as monarch, King Charles III hailed the “heartfelt solidarity” of people in a recession-hit UK struggling with a worsening crisis of livelihoods.

Addressing the nation from Windsor Castle Chapel, where his mother, Elizabeth II, was buried in September, the 74-year-old also thanked the public for the “love and sympathy” they had expressed after her death.

Flanked by a sparkling Christmas tree, the sovereign noted in the annual pre-recorded royal message — broadcast at 1500 GMT — that it was “a particularly poignant time for all of us who have lost loved ones”.

He then turned to the impact of the country’s growing economic woes, as decades-high inflation eats into earnings and exacerbates strikes over pay in the public and private sectors.

“I especially want to pay tribute to all the wonderful kind people who so generously give food or donations, or… their time, to support those around them in greatest need,” said Charles, dressed in a blue suit.

“Our churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and gurudwaras are once again united to feed the hungry, offer love and support throughout the year.”

The king also praised the charities
The king also praised the charities © Paul Ellis / AFP

The king also praised charities for “extraordinary work under the most difficult circumstances”.

He added: “Such heartfelt unity is the most inspiring expression of loving our neighbor as ourselves.”

Charles ascended the throne when Elizabeth died on September 8 after a record-breaking seven-decade reign.

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

‘compassion’

His coronation will take place on May 6 next year, with Buckingham Palace vowing to reflect the monarchy’s historic traditions and its modern role.

In his inaugural Christmas message, Charles said that both he and his late mother shared a “belief in the extraordinary capacity of every person, with goodness and compassion, to touch the lives of others”.

In a return to tradition for Britain's royals, they gathered at Sandringham this year for Christmas Day
In a return to tradition for Britain’s royals, they gathered at Sandringham this year for Christmas Day © Daniel Leal / AFP

“This is the essence of our community and the foundation of our society,” he added, praising public sector workers from the armed forces to teachers to emergency responders.

In a return to tradition for Britain’s royals – disrupted by the pandemic – they gathered for Christmas Day this year at Sandringham, their private winter retreat in eastern England.

Charles and Queen Consort Camilla, 75, joined Prince William and wife Kate — and their children Princes George and Louis and Princess Charlotte — at a local church service.

Disgraced Prince Andrew, who has been shunned over his links to the late US pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein and claims of sex with a minor, was also among the royals who greeted well-wishers outside.

However, US-based Prince Harry and wife Meghan were notable absentees, as their ongoing feud with the family shows little sign of abating.

Charles and Queen Consort Camilla, 75, were joined by Prince William and wife Kate
Charles and Queen Consort Camilla, 75, were joined by Prince William and wife Kate © Daniel Leal / AFP

The couple risked deepening the rift – which first became public when they sensationally quit royal life in early 2020 – by airing various grievances in a six-part Netflix doc this month.

It follows a series of other broadsides they launched in front of the royal family after they relocated to California, with more to be set.

Harry will publish a controversial memoir — titled “Spare” — within weeks.

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