Queen Elizabeth II has issued a special statement to Canadians offering best wishes and congratulations on the 150th anniversary year of Confederation.

The Queen said in the videotaped message, delivered half in English and half in French, that Canada has “earned a reputation as a welcoming, respectful and compassionate country.”

The Queen added: “Fifty years ago, on the eve of the Centennial, I encouraged Canadians to continue to embody the values of equality, freedom and inclusion.”

“Today, these values remain deeply rooted in the Canadian experience,” the Queen went on. “Your country, while still young, has the maturity needed to follow its passions.”

“Throughout the coming year, you will have the opportunity to remind the world of the importance of protecting those values and of passing them on to future generations,” the Queen added.

Royal commentator Richard Berthelsen told CTV News Channel on Sunday that it’s clear the video was recorded at the same time as the Queen’s Christmas message. He noted that she was wearing exactly the same clothing but “with the addition of the maple leaf brooch.”

Berthelsen said the Queen was “very kind” to prepare and deliver the message, despite a cold that forced her to miss church two Sundays in a row.

The Queen, 90, has not been seen in public since Dec. 9, according to Berthelsen, who called the absences from church a “a little bit unusual.”

Berthelsen said that it is “absolutely remarkable” to think that Elizabeth has been Queen of Canada “for almost half of the country’s history.”

Berthelsen said he expects the Queen to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial in the U.K., while other high-profile members of the royal family will visit at Canada Day.

“I think if the Queen were just maybe a tad younger we’d be seeing her in Canada this year,” he added.