25/12/2011 15:01 GMT

Queen Celebrates Family And Community In Her Christmas Message

As her husband spends Christmas Day in hospital, the Queen has higlighted how important family and community are in her traditional pre-recorded Christmas message.

In a rousing festive speech, the Monarch said that Britons can find "strength" from our families in times of adversity.

"It's in a crisis that communities break down barriers and bind together to help one another," she added.

The Queen said she and her husband were moved to see how a community could come together in the wake of a natural disaster when they visited Australia this year", she told the nation.

"We were moved by the way families and local communities held together to support each other.

"Prince William travelled to New Zealand and Australia in the aftermath of earthquakes, cyclones and floods and saw how communities rose up to rescue the injured, comfort the bereaved and rebuild the cities and towns devastated by nature.

"The Prince of Wales also saw first-hand the remarkable resilience of the human spirit after tragedy struck in a Welsh mining community, and how communities can work together to support their neighbours."

And she paid tribute to the two royal weddings this year, of Prince William and Kate Middleton and Zara Phillips and Mike Tindall, saying they were a "celebration of the God-given love that binds a family together."

The monarch, speaking from Buckingham Palace's 1844 room also paid tribute to the armed forces, and those spending Christmas alone or coping with loss.

"The bereaved and the lonely will find it especially hard. And, as we all know, the world is going through difficult times."

The royal family watch the Queen's speech together on Christmas, although she traditionally leaves the room while it plays.

The broadcast ended as it had begun, with a performance by the Band of the Irish Guards.