Queen Elizabeth to pay tribute to forces in Christmas Day message

Britain's Queen Elizabeth the Second will pay tribute to the country's armed forces in her annual Christmas Day message on Friday.

British troops are deployed in more than 80 countries, including around 10,000 in Afghanistan. She will use her traditional message to thank them for their service, "to react to their concerns and to thank and reassure them".

This year could be the bloodiest year for British and American troops in Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led invasion.

The Queen spoke earlier this year of the nation's "deep and enduring gratitude" to the armed forces. The number of British troops killed in Afghanistan this year reached 100 in early December.

In this image made available in London Wednesday Dec. 23, 2009, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II poses prior to the recording of her annual Christmas Day broadcast to the Commonwealth,
in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace in London, Thursday Dec. 20, 2009.