Queen Elizabeth talked of the history of the King James version of the Bible and the role sport and games play in bringing people together during her Christmas message this year.
The annual speech was recorded at Hampton Court Palace; the first time that location has been used.
“Over four hundred years ago, King James the Sixth of Scotland inherited the throne of England at a time when the Christian Church was deeply divided,” she said.
“Here at Hampton Court in 1604, he convened a conference of churchmen of all shades of opinion to discuss the future of Christianity in this country. The King agreed to commission a new translation of the Bible that was acceptable to all parties. This was to become the King James or Authorized Bible, which next year will be exactly four centuries old.”
She stated that the Bible is acknowledged as a masterpiece of English prose and the King James version includes widely-recognised and beautiful descriptions of the birth of Jesus Christ.
She pointed out that this translation was a major cooperative endeavour designed to bring harmony.
“Four hundred years later, it is as important as ever to build communities and create harmony, and one of the most powerful ways of doing this is through sport and games,” she said. “During this past year of abundant sporting events, I have seen for myself just how important sport is in bringing people together from all backgrounds, from all walks of life and from all age-groups.”
The Queen noted that as well as developing physical fitness, sport and games teach social skills, as it is necessary to follow rules and cooperate to succeed.
The power of sport to rehabilitate, as demonstrated through the success of the Paralympics, was also mentioned.
“King James may not have anticipated quite how important sport and games were to become in promoting harmony and common interests,” added Queen Elizabeth. “But from the scriptures in the Bible which bears his name, we know that nothing is more satisfying than the feeling of belonging to a group who are dedicated to helping each other:
“‘Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should to do to you, do ye even so to them.’” (Matthew 7:12)
At the end of the broadcast a choir of children sang The Holly and the Ivy.
The Queen is spending Christmas at Sandringham House, in Norfolk. She regularly spends the holiday there, making it her official base until February.
The BBC reported that many people were out early to see the Royal Family arrive for the church service at St Mary Magdalene Church.
Some showed up at 4:30 am, although the Royal Family doesn’t arrive until 10:50 am.
Prince William was not there because he is on call with his search and rescue squadron.