Archbishop Justin Welby
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby cancels annual Christmas Day sermon due to ‘severe cold’ Reuters

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has cancelled his annual Christmas Day sermon as he is suffering from "severe cold".

The Dean of Canterbury will fill in for the head of Church of England at the Canterbury Cathedral in the annual sermon.

The Archbishop had planned to say: "At Christmas 1914, soldiers took the risk, crossed a battle-line and kindled an evening of friendship and football. It is the moment all have picked on this year, whether in adverts or sermons. The truce illustrates something of the heart of Christmas, whereby God sends his son, that vulnerable sign of peace, to a weary war-torn world," according to the speech copy which was released before the cancellation.

He also wanted to remind the worshippers: "The problem is that the way it is told now it seems to end with a 'happy ever after'. Of course we like Christmas stories with happy endings: singing carols, swapping photos, shaking hands, sharing chocolate, but the following day the war continued with the same severity. Nothing had changed; it was a one-day wonder. That is not the world in which we live, truces are rare."

Meanwhile, the Queen's Christmas Day address will be broadcast on both television and radio at 15:00 GMT.