Queen Elizabeth has made a touching tribute to her late husband Prince Philip during her Christmas Day speech.
The 95 year old monarch, who was not seen at church on Christmas Day, recalled her husband's "mischievous, enquiring twinkle" in the pre-recorded speech.
Queen Elizabeth's husband Prince Philip passed away age 99 in April this year, which means this Christmas is the Queen's first without her beloved husband by her side for 73 years.
Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth acknowledged her grief will be shared by many who have lost loved ones in the past year in the speech.
She began with: "Although it’s a time of great happiness and good cheer for many, Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones.
"This year, especially, I understand why.
"But for me, in the months since the death of my beloved Philip, I have drawn great comfort from the warmth and affection of the many tributes to his life and work – from around the country, the Commonwealth and the world.
"His sense of service, intellectual curiosity and capacity to squeeze fun out of any situation – were all irrepressible."
The Queen then recalled how her husband's familiar twinkle stayed with him throughout their life together.
She said: "That mischievous, enquiring twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him.
"But life, of course, consists of final partings as well as first meetings – and as much as I and my family miss him, I know he would want us to enjoy Christmas."
Speaking of her Christmas plans after she was forced to cancel Christmas at Sandringham, the Queen revealed: "We felt his presence as we, like millions around the world, readied ourselves for Christmas."
Elsewhere in the Queen's speech, the monarch discussed the legacy her beloved late husband left behind.
"Prince Philip was always mindful of this sense of passing the baton," she explained. "That’s why he created The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, which offers young people throughout the Commonwealth and beyond the chance of exploration and adventure.
"It remains an astonishing success, grounded in his faith in the future."
The Queen added: "He was also an early champion of taking seriously our stewardship of the environment, and I am proud beyond words that his pioneering work has been taken on and magnified by our eldest son Charles and his eldest son William – admirably supported by Camilla and Catherine – most recently at the COP climate change summit in Glasgow."
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