LONDON (AFP) ― Queen Elizabeth II urged people to take the time for quiet reflection in 2014, in her annual Christmas Day message to the Commonwealth.
The head of the 53-country organization looked back on her own six decades as monarch, in a personal broadcast Wednesday.
And the 87-year-old also looked forward to the future, saying her baby great-grandson Prince George ― third in line to inherit the thrones of 16 Commonwealth realms ― was likewise set for a lifetime of service and duty.
She also tried to soothe tensions evident at last month’s Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka, which was dominated by allegations of war crimes against the hosts.
“We all need to get the balance right between action and reflection,” she said, in a message recorded at Buckingham Palace in London.
“With so many distractions, it is easy to forget to pause and take stock.
“Be it through contemplation, prayer, or even keeping a diary, many have found the practice of quiet personal reflection surprisingly rewarding.”
She said the 60th anniversary of her coronation in June 1953 had made her reflect on her own lifelong pledges.
“Service and duty are not just the guiding principles of yesteryear; they have an enduring value which spans the generations,” she said.
“The anniversary reminded me of the remarkable changes that have occurred since the coronation, many of them for the better; and of the things that have remained constant, such as the importance of family, friendship and good neighborliness.”
The queen did not attend the stormy biennial Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka but emphasized the “family ties” between its members, largely countries that were once part of the British Empire.