By Duncan Mackay
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

Queen_Speech_December_2010December 24 - The Queen has made sport the focus of her Christmas Day message this year, giving a massive boost as the countdown to the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympic really begins.

In a nod towards 2012, her annual address points out how sport can be used to build communities and create harmony.

It also highlights the important role that volunteers play.

"In the parks of towns and cities, and on village greens up and down the country, countless thousands of people every week give up their time to participate in sport and exercise of all sorts, or simply encourage others to do so," she says.

"These kinds of activity are common throughout the world and play a part in providing a different perspective on life."

In discussing the importance of sport, the Queen will also explore how communal games and exercise can create harmony in communities and positively distance people from the problems of their day-to-day lives.

The Royal Family has a strong sporting pedigree, with the Princess Royal and her daughter Zara Phillips winning the World Equestrian title in 2006, while the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and his sons Princes William and Harry have all played polo competitively.

The importance of sport is illustrated by footage showing Princes William and Harry playing football in June with children from an orphanage in Lesotho which is funded by Prince Harry's charity Sentebale.

The Christmas Day message is normally recorded at Buckingham Palace, but this year it has been done from Hampton Court Palace - the first time the venue has been used.

It is due to be broadcast at 3pm tomorrow.

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