Princess Alexandra has told veterans that the past year has shown just how much communities can achieve together, despite the challenges everyone has faced.
The Queen’s cousin was speaking as part of a special recorded ‘Starlight’ service, organised by the Royal Star & Garter charity, of which Alexandra has been President since 1964.
Princess Alexandra, who will mark her 84th birthday on Christmas Day, recorded the message as part of a celebration of Christmas that has been shared online by the charity so that people can enjoy a communal festive celebration from the comfort and safety of their own home. The service included words and subtitles on the screen to help with joining in with the carols and prayers.
Royal Star & Garter provides care and support for veterans and their partners when they are living with disability or dementia. It has three homes located in Surbiton, Solihull and High Wycombe and usually holds special Christmas ‘Starlight’ services near to them every year. However, the coronavirus pandemic means that such events are not able to take place so an online celebration, including music and readings as well as the special royal message, has been put together and is now available on the organisation’s website and will remain over the festive period.
Princess Alexandra reflected on the past months in her message, saying: “This has been a year of many challenges and our lives have changed in ways we could never have imagined. But it has also been a year that has shown us how much the country and our communities can achieve together.”
The Princess added, “Thank you for everything that you have overcome and for everything that you have achieved to keep each other safe. Your spirit will never have been more tested than during these times but I have no doubt that you have all risen to the challenges as you continue your good work.”
Her message is part of a service which also sees residents from the Royal Star & Garter homes share readings and music from schools, some singing over video calls and others singing in their school playgrounds socially distanced. The Reverend Helen Hancock, from St. Matthew’s Church in Surbiton, shares her reflection while the CEO of Royal Star & Garter Andy Cole, leads the celebration.
Speaking of the online service, Andy Cole said “Starlight…allows us to remember those residents who are no longer with us at the start of the festive season. It was important that despite all the challenges posed by the pandemic, we are still able to come together virtually.”
You can watch it here.