Queen Elizabeth remembers Prince Philip in Christmas message

"Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones," the queen said.

Queen Elizabeth remembered her late husband, Prince Philip, in Christmas Day remarks released Saturday.

"Although it's a time of great happiness and good cheer for many, Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones," the queen said in the prerecorded address. "This year, especially, I understand why."

"But for me, in the months since the death of my beloved Philip, I have drawn great comfort from the warmth and affection of the many tributes to his life and work – from around the country, the Commonwealth and the world," she continued.

Philip died in April at the age of 99, after retiring from royal duties in 2017. He and Elizabeth had been married since 1947.

"His sense of service, intellectual curiosity and capacity to squeeze fun out of any situation – were all irrepressible," the queen remembered Saturday. "That mischievous, enquiring twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him."

The queen's remarks were also shaded by the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, as England has endured record-breaking daily case numbers thanks to the rapid spread of the omicron variant. Philip's funeral service last spring had been limited by the pandemic as well.

"While COVID again means we can't celebrate quite as we may have wished, we can still enjoy the many happy traditions," Queen Elizabeth said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his administration declined to enact further COVID restrictions ahead of the Christmas holiday.