King Charles pays tribute to late mother

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King Charles paid tribute to his late mother Queen Elizabeth in his first Christmas address as monarch, championing her belief in community and those who embrace it in trying times.

“Christmas is a particularly poignant time for all of us who have lost loved ones,” Charles said from the St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

“We feel their absence at every familiar turn of the season and remember them in each cherished edition.”

Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-serving monarch, died in September at the age of 96 after seven decades on the throne. Charles, 74, succeeded her as sovereign and Canada’s head of state.

“In the much-loved carole, O Little Town of Bethlehem, we sing of how ‘in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light,’” he said.

“My mother’s belief in the power of that light was an essential part of … her faith in people. And it is one which I share with my whole heart.”

Charles went on to praise those who “touch, with goodness and compassion, the lives of others,” including health-care workers, teachers and emergency responders for living up to that belief.

“At this time of great anxiety and hardship — be it for those around the world facing conflict, famine or natural disaster — or for those at home finding ways to pay their bills and keep their families fed and warm, we see [the power of light] in the humanity of people throughout our nations and the Commonwealth who so readily respond to the plight of others.”

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