Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has used her traditional Christmas message to pay tribute to the armed forces serving in Afghanistan.
The symbolic head of the UK military, the monarch who was joined by other members of the Royal Family at church this morning, described 2009 as a “difficult year for many”.
“I am sure that we have all been affected by events in Afghanistan and saddened by the casualties suffered by our forces serving there but we can be proud of the positive contribution that our servicemen and women are making in conjunction with our allies,” the Queen said in her 57th address, pre-recorded at Buckingham Palace.
This has been the deadliest year of the Afghanistan conflict for western troops, with Britain in particular facing its worst combat casualties since the Falkands War in the 1980s. More than 100 of its soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in 2009.