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King Charles III calls for compassion in Christmas address

By Lauren Said-Moorhouse and Max Foster, CNN

London (CNN) — Britain’s King Charles III has used his second Christmas broadcast as monarch to call for compassion in the face of world conflict, as the war between Israel and Hamas rages in Gaza and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues.

The Christmas message – a royal tradition which goes back over 90 years – was filmed in the Centre Room in Buckingham Palace, which leads onto its famous balcony overlooking the Queen Victoria Memorial and The Mall.

As the King reflected on the past 12 months, he leaned on the core element of the Christian faith of treating others as you would want to be treated.

“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,” Charles said. “The words of Jesus seem more than ever relevant: ‘do to others as you would have them do to you.’”

The 75-year-old sovereign, who has been a passionate advocate of green issues for much of his life and recently spoke at the COP28 climate summit, also touched upon the environment while delivering his address.

He told the nation and Commonwealth that after his decades of environmental campaigning, he took “great inspiration” at seeing “a growing awareness of how we must protect the Earth and our natural world as the one home we all share.”

As he relayed his festive message, a replantable Christmas tree – adorned with sustainable decorations made using wood, glass, paper, pinecones and dried oranges – could be seen over the monarch’s shoulder.

“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,” King Charles said.

The monarch also paid tribute to the “selfless army” of volunteers who support their communities, calling them the “essential backbone of our society.”

Charles added that he and his wife were “delighted” by the presence of community representatives among the coronation congregation in May. “Their presence meant so much to us both and emphasized the meaning of Coronation itself: above all, a call to us all to serve one another; to love and care for all,” he said.

Footage of the coronation service and balcony appearance was shown alongside the King’s message. Other highlights from the year showed members of the royal family at various engagements.

King Charles and Queen Camilla were shown touring a surplus food distribution center outside London as they launched the Coronation Food Project in November. The Prince and Princess of Wales, and their children, were seen helping scouts during celebrations over coronation weekend. Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie, were seen at events in Scotland while Anne, Princess Royal, was shown visiting the Household Division of Coldstream Guards at Wellington Barracks following overnight rehearsals for the coronation weekend.

The King’s Christmas message also acknowledged other faiths, highlighting that many of the “great religions of the world” celebrate festivals with a special meal. He added that they are “a chance for family and friends to come together across generations; the act of sharing food adding to conviviality and togetherness.”

Charles ended his festive broadcast by thanking “all who are serving one another” and all who are “caring for our common home.”

Earlier on Monday, the King led the royal family as they walked to St. Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk for their annual Christmas Day service.

Meanwhile, the Prince and Princess of Wales marked Christmas Day by released a new photograph of their three children.

A beaming Princess Charlotte is seen with her arms wrapped around her brothers, Princes George and Louis in the black and white snap taken by British photographer Josh Shinner.

Similar to the family’s Christmas card portrait, the three children are dressed casually and seated on a wooden bench in the photograph posted to the couple’s social media accounts on Monday.

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