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Britain's Queen Elizabeth Acknowledges 'Bumpy' Year In Annual Christmas Address

LONDON (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Queen Elizabeth II acknowledged that both Britain and her family have endured a difficult year by saying during her annual Christmas message that it has been a "bumpy" time.

Speaking about the need for reconciliation and forgiveness, Elizabeth said: "The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference."

The monarch was thought to be referring both to Brexit, Britain's tortuous path out of the European Union, and to the royal family's setbacks.

Prince Andrew, the Queen's third child and second son, was forced to retreat from public duties after a disastrous TV interview in which he defended his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who died by suicide in his Manhattan jail cell on Aug. 10, 2019.

The family has also endured a public rift between Prince William and Prince Harry, who has traveled with his wife Meghan Markle and young son Archie to Canada rather than spend the Christmas holidays at Sandringham Estate — the queen's rural retreat, as has long been customary for senior royals.

Both Harry and Meghan have complained about constant scrutiny by the media as they settle into family life with 7-month-old Archie.

The pre-recorded message was broadcast in Britain and the Commonwealth nations on Christmas Day. It was recorded before the queen's husband, Prince Philip, was hospitalized in London as a precautionary measure.

Philip, 98, was discharged Tuesday and was immediately taken by helicopter to join other senior royals at Elizabeth's rural retreat in time for a traditional family Christmas.

Buckingham Palace did not reveal details about Philips medical treatment and said that he wished to thank everyone who had sent good wishes during his four-night stay at the private King Edward VII hospital in London.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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