The Queen used her Christmas broadcast to respond to the outpouring of public affection and enthusiasm during her Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
She described how she was left humbled by the huge crowds that turned out to mark the historic milestone.
She said she was struck by the “strength of fellowship and friendship” shown by well-wishers, most memorably during the Diamond Jubilee Pageant, when more than a million people lined the banks of the Thames.
Despite the cold conditions and persistent downpours, the crowds were “undaunted by the rain”, she said in her address.
The Olympic and Paralympic Games were another highlight of 2012 for the Queen. She paid tribute to the athletes, torch-bearers and volunteer Games Makers for either inspiring the nation or devoting themselves to others.
The message, produced by Sky News, was broadcast in 3D for the first time and elements of the footage appeared to leap out from the screen. In it, the Queen said: “This past year has been one of great celebration for many. The enthusiasm which greeted the Diamond Jubilee was, of course, especially memorable for me and my family.
“It was humbling that so many chose to mark the anniversary of a duty which passed to me 60 years ago. People of all ages took the trouble to take part in various ways and in many nations.
“But perhaps most striking of all was to witness the strength of fellowship and friendship among those who had gathered together on these occasions.”
The broadcast featured panoramic shots of hundreds of boats, tugs, ships, cruisers and canoes sailing past the Houses of Parliament during the pageant in June.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry were seen waving to the crowds, while well-wishers stood on the riverbanks drenched but clearly enjoying themselves.
In a lighthearted moment, the Duke of Edinburgh was featured jigging along to a nautical tune, as other royals, including the Prince of Wales and the Queen, enjoyed the music.
The Queen summed up the day, saying: “There was a tremendous sense of common determination to celebrate, triumphing over the elements.”
The same spirit of celebration was found when the Olympic flame reached the UK, she said, adding: “The flame itself drew hundreds and thousands of people on its journey around the British Isles, and was carried by every kind of deserving individual, many nominated for their own extraordinary service.”
Several torch-bearers were shown, including paratrooper Ben Parkinson, considered the most seriously wounded soldier to survive the war in Afghanistan, who carried the flame through his home town of Doncaster, South Yorkshire, in June.
As for the Games themselves, the Queen said: “As London hosted a splendid summer of sport, all those who saw the achievement and courage at the Olympic and Paralympic Games were further inspired by the skill, dedication, training and teamwork of our athletes.”
Those featured included cyclist Bradley Wiggins on his way to clinching the time-trial gold medal and an ecstatic Mo Farah after winning the 10,000m title – to be followed by a 5,000m gold.
Paralympian David Weir was seen after his triumph in the men’s T54 800m, and Usain Bolt was shown powering over the finishing line to retain his Olympic 100m title.
The thousands of volunteers who were the public face of the Games were singled out by the Queen. She said: “Those public-spirited people came forward in the great tradition of all those who devote themselves to keeping others safe, supported and comforted.”
The Queen, with the Duke of Edinburgh, was also seen reviewing troops in May during the Armed Forces Diamond Jubilee Parade and Muster. The Queen, who wore a fine silk tulle gown by Angela Kelly for the broadcast, said: “For many, Christmas is also a time for coming together. But for others, service will come first. Those serving in our armed forces, in our emergency services and in our hospitals, whose sense of duty takes them away from family and friends, will be missing those they love.”
The broadcast was recorded on 7 December, a few days after it was announced that the Duchess of Cambridge was pregnant, but there was no mention of the impending royal birth.
At the start of the broadcast, the British Paraorchestra, which accompanied Coldplay during the Paralympics closing ceremony, was featured performing the National Anthem in Buckingham Palace’s Ballroom. For the final segment, the Military Wives Choir, with choirmaster Gareth Malone, sang In The Bleak Midwinter in the same setting.