The Queen has spoken movingly of her visit to the poppy memorial commemorating those who died in the First World War.
In her annual Christmas message the monarch said the “only possible reaction” to walking among the poppies was silence.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh walked through the memorial of red ceramic poppies in the former moat of the Tower of London in October, having insisted on seeing it in person. The installation, comprising 888,246 poppies, one for each British and Colonial death, was intended to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the conflict.
In her message, recorded at Buckingham Palace, the Queen said: “The ceramic poppies at the Tower of London drew millions, and the only possible reaction to walking among them was silence.
“For every poppy, a life; and a reminder of the grief of loved ones left behind.”
In her review of the year the Queen also said she was “deeply touched” by the “selflessness” of medical staff fighting the Ebola outbreak. Teams of British doctors and nurses have volunteered in countries affected by the virus.
“I have been deeply touched this year by the selflessness of aid workers and medical volunteers who have gone abroad to help victims of conflict or of diseases like Ebola, often at great personal risk,” the Queen said.
The Queen, 88, recorded her Christmas message seated next to a table featuring separate photographs of her grandparents George V and Queen Mary and an embossed brass box. She wore a purple dress by Angela Kelly and a diamond and pearl brooch inherited from Queen Mary.
The box was a Christmas Day gift for those serving overseas in the First World War during 1914. It was organised by the Sailors & Soldiers Christmas Fund, created by Princess Mary, George’s daughter, and filled with a variety of gifts from tobacco for smokers to chocolate for nurses.
The Christmas address, which will be transmitted on both television and radio at 3pm on Christmas Day, is written by the Queen and usually has a strong religious framework, reflects current events and draws on her own experiences over the past year.
It was produced this year by the BBC and recorded in Buckingham Palace’s state dining room. It will be available on the Royal Channel on the YouTube website and will also be shown in Commonwealth countries.
The broadcast was filmed using 4K ultra-high-definition digital cameras.