King Charles used his first Christmas address to acknowledge the many Britons struggling to “keep their families fed and warm” during the cost of living crisis.
He spoke of the “great anxiety and hardship” in his first Christmas Day broadcast as monarch following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September.
After opening the pre-recorded address with a tribute to his late mother, he spoke of the Queen’s faith in the people.
“It is a belief in the extraordinary ability of each person to touch, with goodness and compassion, the lives of others, and to shine a light in the world around them,” Charles said. “This is the essence of our community and the very foundation of our society.
“We see it in the selfless dedication of our armed forces and emergency services who work tirelessly to keep us all safe… and we see it in our health and social care professionals, our teachers and indeed all those working in public service, whose skill and commitment is at the heart of our communities.
Charles then made reference to the cost of living crisis, amid soaring energy prices and increased foodbank use.
He continued: “And at this time of great anxiety and hardship, be it for those around the world facing conflict, famine or natural disaster, or for those at home finding ways to pay their bills and keep their families fed and warm, we see it in the humanity of people throughout our nations and the Commonwealth who so readily respond to the plight of others.
“I particularly want to pay tribute to all those wonderfully kind people who so generously give food or donations, or that most precious commodity of all, their time, to support those around them in greatest need, together with the many charitable organizations which do such extraordinary work in the most difficult circumstances.
“Our churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and gurdwaras, have once again united in feeding the hungry, providing love and support throughout the year. Such heartfelt solidarity is the most inspiring expression of loving our neighbor as ourselves.”
Ending his speech, Charles said: “With all my heart, I wish each of you a Christmas of peace, happiness and everlasting light.”
You can read the full King’s Speech here.
Earlier, the King attended the royal family’s traditional Christmas Day church service near the royal residence at Sandringham, Norfolk.
Charles and the Queen Consort walked the short distance from Sandringham House to St Mary Magdalene Church.
They were joined by the Prince and Princess of Wales and their children – Prince George, nine, Princess Charlotte, seven, and four-year-old Prince Louis, who walked hand in hand with Kate.
Also in the walking group, who passed a crowd of well-wishers on the way to the church, was the disgraced Duke of York. The Earl and Countess of Wessex were also in the group. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who live in California, were absent.
This year’s gathering at Sandringham is the first time the royal family have spent Christmas at the private royal residence in Norfolk since 2019.
The late Queen had spent the festive period at Windsor Castle for two years in a row, in 2020 and 2021, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, before her death in September.