Queen And Royals Attend Christmas Day Service

The Queen has used her annual Christmas broadcast to express gratitude for the outpouring of enthusiasm for her Diamond Jubilee celebrations this year.

Delivering the broadcast for the first time in 3D,  Her Majesty said she was struck by the "strength of fellowship and friendship" shown by well-wishers to mark her 60 years on the throne.

"People of all ages took the trouble to take part in various ways and in many nations," she said.

The Queen also paid tribute to the armed forces "whose sense of duty takes them away from family and friends" over the holidays.

She also reflected on UK's hosting of the Olympics, praising the "skill, dedication, training and teamwork of our athletes" and singling out the volunteers who devoted themselves "to keeping others safe, supported and comforted."

Earlier on Christmas Day, the Queen was joined by other members of the royal family for a church service in Sandringham after she recovered from a cold.

But there were some notable absentees from the festivities this year. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent the day with Kate's family, while Prince Harry is serving as an Apache pilot in Afghanistan.

Traditionally, the whole family would gather at the Queen's estate home over the festive period.

Wearing a turquoise coat dress and matching hat, the Queen was wished a merry Christmas by about 1,000 people at St Mary Magdalene.

She was given a variety of bouquets of flowers by around 50 young children who queued up meet her. She was also handed a bag of dog treats for her corgis by a girl in the crowd.

The Queen made the short journey from Sandringham House in a Bentley with princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

The Duke of Edinburgh, 91, who missed last year's service with a heart problem, walked the few hundred yards from the house to the church accompanied by the Duke of York and the Earl and the Countess of Wessex.

As the Queen was driven away, the crowd gave her three cheers.

Meanwhile, William and Kate attended a service at Englefield Church in Englefield, Berkshire.

The Duchess has had a testing few weeks, having been forced to announce her pregnancy earlier than planned when she was admitted to King Edward VII's Hospital in London following a bout of severe morning sickness.

The condition, known as hyperemesis gravidarum, leaves expectant mothers so ill they cannot keep food or liquids down.

Days later, she and Prince William found themselves offering their condolences to the family of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, 46, who was found hanged in her nurses' quarters after answering a prank call made to the hospital by two Australian DJs impersonating the Queen and Prince of Wales.

The Duke and Duchess are expected to follow their stay in Bucklebury with a visit to Sandringham at some point over the festive period.

In Afghanistan Prince Harry, like thousands of other servicemen, is celebrating Christmas with troops.