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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 December, 2003, 15:01 GMT
Queen praises 'brilliant' troops
The Queen
The Queen said separation at Christmas was 'hard to bear'
The Queen has spoken of her "respect and admiration" for members of the British armed forces serving overseas, in her traditional Christmas speech.

She said the men and women served their country "brilliantly", despite the serious risks and dangers they face "in trouble spots across the globe".

The speech, the first shot entirely on location, showed the Queen chatting to troops at an Army base in Windsor.

A second innovation saw the message made available over the telephone.

'Hard to bear'

Buckingham Palace said the Queen wanted to recognise the professionalism of the armed forces in a year when so much has been asked of them and their families.

I have been struck by how often people say to me that they are receiving their reward on behalf of a team
The Queen

She drew attention to all of those stationed overseas and said: "Separation at this time is especially hard to bear."

The Queen said Britain had good reason to be proud of its servicemen and women and paid tribute to those who lost their lives trying to build a "lasting peace".

Drawing on the importance of teamwork, she praised the discipline of the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force.

'Steadfast loyalty'

The broadcast showed clips of the Queen talking to troops who had served in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans

She said: "I was left with a deep sense of respect and admiration for their steadfast loyalty to each other and to our nation."

The speech also highlighted the importance of teams in other walks of life, including the voluntary sector.

I was left with a deep sense of respect and admiration for their steadfast loyalty to each other and to our nation
The Queen

"I have been struck by how often people say to me that they are receiving their reward on behalf of a team and that they do not deserve to be singled out," the Queen said.

She spoke of how she had been struck by those people in Britain and across the Commonwealth who gave their time to help other.

Internet users

Troops serving around the world were able to dial up on their mobile phones to listen to the speech.

The service was also open to the public, but calls cost 10p a minute more than the normal rate to cover the cost of the facility.

BBC News Online also broadcast the speech for internet users.

The programme, produced for the BBC by Nick Vaughan-Barratt, was also broadcast throughout the Commonwealth.


SEE ALSO:
A royally difficult year
22 Dec 03  |  UK
Queen reflects on joy and sadness
25 Dec 02  |  UK News
Queen's Christmas Message
22 Dec 03  |  UK


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