King Charles pleads in Christmas speech 'to protect each other' in time of conflict

The British monarch emphasised the common values of the 'Abrahamic family of religions'

King Charles III during the recording of his Christmas message at Buckingham Palace. PA
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King Charles III made a plea for humanity to “protect each other” during a time of increasing global conflict in his Christmas Day speech.

The British monarch also outlined the common values of the “Abrahamic family of religions” which emphasised service to others during his televised address.

King Charles, who recently addressed the Cop28 in Dubai, said he was pleased at the growing awareness of the need to protect our planet.

The King and Queen Camilla celebrated Christmas Day with other members of the royal family at Sandringham.

They were joined by the Prince and Princess of Wales and their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis for morning service at St Mary Magdalene Church.

Royal Christmases traditionally feature the greeting of people outside the church and a family lunch.

A photo of Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte, showing them all smiling, has also been released.

While King Charles didn’t directly reference the fighting in Gaza or the ongoing war in Ukraine he said “at a time of increasingly tragic conflict around the World, I pray that we can also do all in our power to protect each other”.

He continued: “The words of Jesus seem more than ever relevant: 'Do to others as you would have them do to you.'

"Such values are universal, drawing together our Abrahamic family of religions, and other belief systems, across the Commonwealth and wider world.

“They remind us to imagine ourselves in the shoes of our neighbours, and to seek their good as we would our own.”

The monarch, speaking with a living Christmas tree in the background, also touched on the environment in his speech. The tree had sustainable decorations. It marked the first time a British monarch had used a living Christmas tree for the traditional televised message.

During the broadcast, a clip was broadcast showing him planting a tree with environmental activist Karen Kimani, 10, in Nairobi during his recent state visit to Kenya.

He said that “because out of God's providence, we are blessed with much” but added “it is incumbent on us to use this wisely”.

“To care for this creation is a responsibility owned by people of all faiths and of none. We care for the Earth for the sake of our children's children,” he said.

"During my lifetime I have been so pleased to see a growing awareness of how we must protect the Earth and our natural world as the one home which we all share.”

King Charles used his speech to praise the "selfless army" of volunteers serving describing them as the "essential backbone of our society".

Footage was shown of Charles and Camilla visiting a food distribution hub in Oxfordshire to launch his Coronation Food Project.

The Prince and Princess of Wales and their children were also featured in a clip, helping scouts from the 3rd Upton Scout Group in Slough renovate their hut and grounds, as part of The Big Help Out event, during the coronation celebration weekend.

"Over this past year my heart has been warmed by countless examples of the imaginative ways in which people are caring for one another - going the extra mile to help those around them simply because they know it is the right thing to do: at work and at home; within and across communities."

The broadcast, produced this year by ITN, began with military musicians from the Household Division Symphonic Brass playing the National Anthem from a balcony overlooking Buckingham Palace's quadrangle and ended with the Bexley Music Primary Choir performing the carol While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks.

Highlights from the royal year were screened showing the King and Queen, Princess Royal and Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh attending events.

William and Kate and their family were pictured arriving for the princess's Westminster Abbey carol concert, and the footage ended with Charles's final coronation day appearance on the palace balcony.

Updated: December 25, 2023, 8:11 PM