After missing Christmas and New Year's Day church services for the first time in decades due to a heavy cold, Queen Elizabeth II has finally recovered - and made her first appearance of 2017 by attending church on Sunday.
Reuters reports that the world's longest-reigning monarch, who became unwell before Christmas, arrived at St. Mary Magdalene in Sandringham, Norfolk, for the service alongside Prince Philip, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Middleton family.
The queen, who wore a vibrant blue coat and hat, was driven from her country home to the local church while other royals walked. After exchanging a short greeting with the vicar she entered the church to cheers from wellwishers.
The 90-year-old monarch's appearance set minds at ease across the country, as she had not been seen publicly since Buckingham Palace announced that both she and her husband were suffering from severe colds nearly a month ago.
The queen, who is the symbolic head of the Church of England, missed the Christmas Day service for the first time in decades, and the New Year service a week later. The palace said she was still recuperating.
However, per tradition, Elizabeth released a televised Christmas Day message, in which she referred to Jesus Christ as the "guiding light" of her life and said His witness helps her to see the value of doing small things with great love..
In her videotaped speech, which was the most-watched program on the day for the second year running with over 8 million viewers, the queen said: "When people face a challenge, they sometimes talk about taking a deep breath to find courage or strength. In fact, the word 'inspire' literally means 'to breathe in.' But even with the inspiration of others, it's understandable that we sometimes think the world's problems are so big that we can do little to help."
"On our own, we cannot end wars or wipe out injustice, but the cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of goodness can be bigger than we imagine," said Elizabeth. "At Christmas, our attention is drawn to the birth of a baby some two thousand years ago. It was the humblest of beginnings, and his parents, Joseph and Mary, did not think they were important."
"Jesus Christ lived obscurely for most of his life, and never traveled far," she continued. "He was maligned and rejected by many, though he had done no wrong. And yet, billions of people now follow his teaching and find in him the guiding light for their lives. I am one of them because Christ's example helps me see the value of doing small things with great love, whoever does them and whatever they themselves believe."
She concluded: "The message of Christmas reminds us that inspiration is a gift to be given as well as received, and that love begins small but always grows."
After more than six decades on the throne, the queen has cut back on international tours but still regularly performs official duties around Britain, according to Reuters.
The palace announced on Dec. 20 she would step down as patron of several charities and other organizations to reduce her workload.