Britain's Prince Charles has paid tribute to the "personal sacrifices" of the armed forces.
The 67-year-old royal sent a festive message through Forces TV and BFBS (British Forces Broadcasting Services) Radio, in which he praised their "professionalism" and "cultural sensitivity", as well as speaking of his admiration of those who protect the country in the face of "great danger".
He spoke of his admiration for those who face "great danger" to protect the country.
He added: "I am delighted to have this opportunity to send you all a Christmas message, for while many of the current news headlines around the world appear rather grim, they have reminded us all of the vital importance of the armed forces.
"Sometimes it would appear that there is no real threat facing Britain and that therefore defence can perhaps seem somewhat irrelevant.
"However, the extent of current global deployments of the UK's armed forces only goes to highlight the continued, essential role of the armed forces in today's society."
Charles also thanked the families of service personnel stationed out of the UK, saying their "loyalty and constant support are such a crucial part of the remarkable selflessness of the whole military family".
He ended his message by saying: "I can only wish you all the happiest possible Christmas and send you a sincere and heartfelt thank you for your continued service and personal sacrifice.
"I can assure you, ladies and gentlemen, that this is hugely valued and appreciated."
Almost 23,000 military personnel are stationed or deployed abroad over the festive period, including more than 3,000 on operations.