Everything you need to know about the Queen's speech

Danielle Stacey
Royal Correspondent

Just like most festive traditions, sitting down to watch the Queen’s speech on Christmas Day is a staple for many people.

Officially referred to as the Queen’s Christmas Message, 7.6 million viewers tuned in to watch it in 2017.

But when did it all begin and when can you watch it this year? Here’s everything you need to know.

When was the first broadcast?

The first Christmas Broadcast was delivered by Her Majesty’s grandfather George V in 1932. 

The Queen gave her first speech on 25 December 1952 and the first televised message was shown in 1957.

Over time it has evolved and is now broadcast on radio, TV and online.

The Queen usually records her speech a few weeks before Christmas Day.

What time is the Queen’s speech on Christmas Day 2018?

The Queen’s Christmas Message in 2018 is on at 3pm on BBC1, ITV, Sky 1 and Sky News. It will last approximately ten minutes.

The Queen recording her Christmas message in 2012 [Photo: Getty]

MORE: What the Royal Family does at Christmas

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Has the Queen ever missed a speech?

Only once in 1969. Royal correspondent Victoria Murphy explains to Yahoo UK‘s The Royal Box: “The Royal Family that year did a fly-on-the-wall documentary, which gave a real behind-the-scenes insight into royal life.

“I think that maybe she felt they’d seen and heard enough, so she didn’t do that that particular year, but every other year, it’s been a staple part.”

That year the Queen issued a written message instead.

The Queen pictures after her first televised Christmas Day message in 1957 [Photo: Rex]

What will the Queen talk about this year?

The theme of this year’s broadcast has not been confirmed but Her Majesty usually reflects on the past year.

It’s been a big year for the royal family with the birth of Prince Louis, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s nuptials, Prince Charles’ 70th birthday and Meghan’s pregnancy announcement.

In 2011, she mentioned the marriages of her grandchildren Prince William and Zara Phillips, to Kate Middleton and Mike Tindall respectively. 

It has been quite a tumultuous a year for the UK in terms of politics, so could the Queen mention Brexit in her message?

Victoria Murphy says: “Often there’s very veiled mentions of things.

“I think that could be something, a theme that comes up, sort of togetherness.

“There’s usually very broad themes to the speech that people can attach what they want to onto it.

“But she’s [The Queen] never specific about anything, certainly nothing political. There’s always that sort of watch on will she mention the personal milestones?

“Of course this year it’ll be the wedding, particularly Harry’s wedding.”

It’s been quite a year for the Royal Family, pictured on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in summer 2018 [Photo: Getty]

Do the Royal Family watch the Queen’s speech?

Former royal butler Grant Harrold tells Yahoo UK that the royals do sit down and watch the broadcast after their traditional turkey lunch.

He says: “From what I understand, she does, they watch it.

“And I think anyone, if you’ve done something, you’re going to want to watch it back to see how it comes across.”