Sport the focus of Queen's Christmas message

The importance of sport is a focus of this year's Christmas message to the Commonwealth from the Queen.

Her annual message refers to the benefits to be gained by communities taking part in sporting activities.

Her Majesty said sport could relieve the tensions of everyday life.

All members of the Royal Family are keen on sport.

Polo has been a prominent activity for the Duke of Edinburgh and Princes Charles, William, and Harry.

In her message - to be broadcast at 1500 GMT (4am, December 26 in NZ time) - the Queen praises those who give up their spare time to encourage children to get into games.

The focus on sports follows a government backdown on plans to cut funding for school sports.

This year's message has been recorded not at Buckingham Palace as usual but at Hampton Court Palace.

The queen's speech is one of the rare occasions when she airs her own views rather than turning to the government for advice.

Meanwhile, members of the royal family are due to celebrate Christmas at the Queen's country retreat in Norfolk, the BBC reported.

But neither Prince William nor fiancee Kate Middleton will be there.

Prince William is on call with his search and rescue squadron while Ms Middleton is thought to be spending Christmas Day with her family.

- Newstalk ZB, NZHERALD STAFF

- Newstalk ZB

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