The Queens Special Christmas message to UK forces 2004
HM. Queen Elizabeth II
I would like to send a special message to all of you in the services spending Christmas on active duty away from home.
Very many of you listening today will be separated from your families this Christmas which is hard for both you and those who are left at home.
It has been a very demanding year. I am proud of the way that you have risen to the challenges with typical professionalism.
The varied tasks you take on in all parts of the world may be changing, but what remains the same is the spirit, good humour, courage and commitment you show every day, often in the most arduous conditions.
The conflict in Iraq has dominated the headlines at home, but I am only too aware that whilst many of you have been deployed there, others have been working tirelessly in many other theatres.
Whichever service you belong to, peace-keeping and humanitarian missions - helping to safeguard the innocent and offer them renewed hope for a better life - are as much a part of your duties today as combat operations, whether in the Balkans, Afghanistan, or elsewhere.
Wherever you are, I would like to express my gratitude for your service this year, and I send each and every one of you my good wishes for Christmas and the New Year.