London (CNN)Britain's Queen Elizabeth has commended frontline workers for their efforts during the pandemic, expressing during her annual Christmas television broadcast how "moved" she was by the "quiet, indomitable spirit" shown by people over the last year.
Queen Elizabeth says 'you are not alone' in annual Christmas speech
"Every year we herald the coming of Christmas by turning on the lights," the Queen said, noting that this year people were unable to celebrate in the usual way.
"But we need life to go on," she added. "A year that has necessarily kept people apart, has in many ways brought us closer."
Much of the UK is currently under stringent coronavirus restrictions due to a winter surge in cases, preventing many families from gathering at Christmas.
"Of course for many, this time of year will be tinged with sadness,"the Queen said.
"Some mourning the loss of those dear to them, and others missing friends and family-members distanced for safety, when all they'd really want for Christmas is a simple hug or a squeeze of the hand."
She added: "If you are among them, you are not alone and let me assure you of my thoughts and prayers."