SANDRINGHAM, ENGLAND >> Queen Elizabeth II used her Christmas message Friday to proclaim that light can triumph over darkness in these perilous times — and to comment on the joys of having a new great-granddaughter, Princess Charlotte.
The 89-year-old queen conceded there have been "moments of darkness" in the last year, which has been marked by extremist attacks and a migrant crisis that has overwhelmed Europe, but cited the Bible as offering solace and hope.
"The Gospel of John contains a verse of great hope, often read at Christmas carol services: 'The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it,'" she said in her annual Christmas message, broadcast throughout Britain and much of the Commonwealth.
On a lighter note, she remarked on the birth of Charlotte to Prince William and his wife, Kate, seven months ago.
"One of the joys of living a long life is watching one's children, then grandchildren, then great-grandchildren, help decorate the Christmas tree. And this year my family has a new member to join in the fun," she said.
She spoke in a prerecorded message from the 18th Century Room at Buckingham Palace, sitting next to a decorated fireplace and Christmas tree.
Princess Charlotte and "big" brother Prince George — he is two — did not attend a traditional Christmas Day service at St. Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham estate.
The queen, in a festive red coat, arrived in a Bentley to lead the family to the service amid some sprinkles of rain.
Elizabeth, her husband Prince Philip and senior members of the royal family spent most of the day at Sandringham, a sprawling estate in Norfolk, 110 miles (175 kilometers) north of London.
Prince Charles and his wife Camilla were among the royals attending the church service as some 1,000 well-wishers gathered outside hoping for a glimpse.
Prince William and Kate came as well. Kate wore a green coat and hat and chatted with brother-in-law Prince Harry.
The Christmas message — a time-honored British tradition — will be posted on the royal YouTube channel for maximum exposure.
The queen writes the brief speech herself.