In her Christmas Day message, Queen Elizabeth said that "remarkably, a year that has necessarily kept people apart has, in many ways, brought us closer". The Royal Family, she stated, had been "inspired" by people volunteering in their communities.
"In the United Kingdom and around the world, people have risen magnificently to the challenges of the year, and I am so proud and moved by this quiet, indomitable spirit."
"Of course for many, this time of year will be tinged with sadness - some mourning the loss of those dear to them and others missing friends and family members distanced for safety, when all they really want for Christmas is a simple hug or a squeeze of the hand. If you are among them, you are not alone, and let me assure you of my thoughts and prayers."
The Queen thanked young people, frontline workers and "good Samaritans" who had shown care and respect for all. "We continue to be inspired by the kindness of strangers and draw comfort that even on the darkest nights there is hope in the new dawn."
"Let the light of Christmas, the spirit of selflessness, love and, above all, hope guide us in the times ahead."