Queen praises sport in Christmas message

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The Queen has praised sport's ability to teach fundamental life skills in her Christmas Day message describing how values like honesty, respect for others and a sense of community are all fostered on the playing field.

From amputee servicemen getting back to fitness to athletes competing at a global event, the power of sport to unify and inspire was highlighted by the monarch.

A host of major championships were staged in 2010, from the football World Cup to the Commonwealth Games, and in 2012 London will stage the Olympics.

The sovereign said this year she had seen "how important sport is in bringing people together from all backgrounds, from all walks of life and from all age-groups".

The Queen said in her television address: "Apart from developing physical fitness, sport and games can also teach vital social skills.

"None can be enjoyed without abiding by the rules, and no team can hope to succeed without co-operation between the players.

"This sort of positive team spirit can benefit communities, companies and enterprises of all kinds."

In her message the Queen also talked about the 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James Bible which will be celebrated in 2011.

She said: "Acknowledged as a masterpiece of English prose and the most vivid translation of the scriptures, the glorious language of this Bible has survived the turbulence of history and given many of us the most widely recognised and beautiful descriptions of the birth of Jesus Christ which we celebrate today."

The Queen's annual address to the nation is normally recorded at Buckingham Palace but this year the Queen suggested Hampton Court Palace as an alternative - the first time it has been used. Filming took place on December 15.

The historic building's Chapel Royal was the venue and its vaulted blue ceiling, made for Henry VIII in the 1530s and lavishly decorated with gold leaf, were featured during the broadcast.

For the first time the Queen used sport as the theme for her message.

It was mirrored by broadcast footage featuring a succession of Royal Family visits to major events like the Commonwealth Games, and a London 2012 Olympic site.

Using games to break down barriers between people of different backgrounds was highlighted by William and his brother Prince Harry, seen playing football with young orphans from Lesotho.

The princes visited the African country in June and travelled to the remote Semongkong Children's Centre where they met the youngsters.

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