Queen Elizabeth II has acknowledged the growing economic worries facing families this festive season. She celebrated Christmas at church on the Royal Estate at Sandringham with her own family, before her traditional message was broadcast to the world. Its tone was sombre:
“Christmas is a time for celebration, but this year it is a more sombre occasion for many,” she said. “Some things which were once taken for granted suddenly seem less certain, and give rise to feelings of insecurity.” Britain, like much of the world, is suffering in the global financial crisis. People have less to spend, and many stores launched their post-Christmas sales early in the hope of boosting takings. Foreign holidays can help ease the winter blues, but that has got a lot tougher recently for Britons, with the pound rapidly approaching parity with the euro. The economic gloom has already claimed some of the most famous names on Britain’s High Streets, including the “pile it high and sell it cheap” pioneer Woolworth’s.