Queen Modifies Christmas Message Tradition

British Queen Elizabeth II delivered her annual Christmas message Monday, calling for mutual respect between young and old and greater religious tolerance.

"The wisdom and experience of the great religions point to the need to nurture and guide the young, and to encourage respect for the elderly," the queen said in a prerecorded message filmed at Southwark Cathedral in London.

She added that the pressures of modern life sometimes seemed to weaken family ties and that ignorance and misunderstanding led to the danger of a real divide opening up between the generations.

It's tradition in Britain that Christmas dinner stops for the Queen's message, reports .

In the speech broadcast to Britain and its former colonies, the queen's Christmas broadcast featured for the first time ever footage of Muslims praying in a mosque.

Britain's 1.5 million Muslims have been at the center of a number of controversies over the past year, from the continued focus on the threat of Islamist terrorism to a particularly heated debate on the full veil worn by some women.

"It is very easy to concentrate on the differences between the religious faiths and to forget what they have in common — people of different faiths are bound together by the need to help the younger generation to become considerate and active citizens," the monarch stressed.

People of different faiths were bound together by the need to help the young become considerate citizens and all religious communities encouraged the bridging of the generation gap, she said.

There were also scenes of the opening of Europe's largest Hindu temple the Shri Venkateswara (Balaji) in central England and from a reception attended by the queen and Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.

The queen chooses a different theme for each annual address, the one occasion in the year when she pens her own speech without government advice. In last year's address, she focussed on tragedy following the July 7 London transit bombings and the tsunami that ripped through southeast Asia on Dec. 26, 2004.

Dressed in a spring green outfit, and wearing a brooch depicting flowers in a basket, the queen said in the broadcast that Christmas gave her the opportunity to put all anxieties to one side.

"I have lived long enough to know that things never remain quite the same for very long," she said.

"One of the things that has not changed all that much for me is the celebration of Christmas.

"It remains a time when I try to put aside the anxieties of the moment and remember that Christ was born to bring peace and tolerance to a troubled world."

Showing that the royal family was also moving ahead with the times, the Queen's speech was available this year to download as a podcast (audio or video) for the first time.

The monarch's Christmas address is a tradition that began with her grandfather, King George V, who delivered the first one in 1932.
  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.

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