King's Speech: 5 things we noticed in Charles' first Christmas address to the nation

EMBARGOED TO 2200 GMT FRIDAY DECEMBER 23Previously unissued photo dated 13/12/22 of King Charles III during the recording of his first Christmas speech in the Quire of St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle, Berkshire. Issue date: Friday December 23, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story ROYAL King. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire
King Charles delivers his first Christmas speech from the Quire of St. George's Chapel, Windsor. (Getty Images)

King Charles has delivered his first Christmas speech since becoming monarch in September. He used the speech to pay tribute to his late mother, Queen Elizabeth and he discussed how her faith has influenced his own. He also touched on the emotional difficulty of the festive season whilst suffering a loss.

After Queen Elizabeth's seventy years on the throne, it seemed likely that the new monarch would spend much of his first address honouring his mother, who consistently enjoyed high approval ratings throughout most of her reign.

While this aspect of his speech might have been expected, Yahoo UK looks into the five things you might have missed in the Christmas message.

SANDRINGHAM, NORFOLK - DECEMBER 25:  King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort attend the Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church on December 25, 2022 in Sandringham, Norfolk. King Charles III ascended to the throne on September 8, 2022, with his coronation set for May 6, 2023. (Photo by UK Press Pool/UK Press via Getty Images)
Charles and Camilla attended the Christmas Day service at Sandringham church for the first time since he became monarch. (Getty Images)

Charles mentioned William and Kate, but not Harry and Meghan

In what will likely be interpreted as a nod to the "slimmed down monarchy" Charles has long been said to favour — and can be seen across the royal families of Europe — he made a brief mention of William and Kate, but no other member of the House of Windsor.

"The Prince and Princess of Wales recently visited Wales", he said, where they shined "a light on practical examples of [...] community spirit".

However, given the recent controversy surrounding the Royal Family's relationship with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex this omission stands in contrast to the King's first address as monarch where he expressed his "love for Harry and Meghan".

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 19: Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort observe the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it is transferred from the gun carriage to the hearse at Wellington Arch following the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on September 19, 2022 in London, England. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born in Bruton Street, Mayfair, London on 21 April 1926. She married Prince Philip in 1947 and ascended the throne of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth on 6 February 1952 after the death of her Father, King George VI. Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8, 2022, and is succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III. (Photo by Andy Stenning - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The last time Harry and Meghan were with the rest of the Royal Family was during the mourning period for Queen Elizabeth, pictured here in London on the day of the state funeral. (Getty Images)

A lot has changed in the last three months. Harry and Meghan made allegations in their Netflix documentary series that palace aides working for William had briefed the press against them, and there has been public outcry in response to a column written by Jeremy Clarkson for The Sun, in which he made comments widely criticised as misogynistic about the Duchess.

Something that the palace have remained notably silent about, despite calls for them to condemn the comments.

Charles chose a poignant location for his first Christmas message

The King spoke from the Quire of St. George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, close to where both his parents have been laid to rest for his first address. The late Queen had also delivered an address from this spot, in 1999.

"I am standing here in this exquisite Chapel of St. George at Windsor Castle, so close to where my beloved mother, the late Queen, is laid to rest with my dear father", he said.

28th September 1952:  Queen Elizabeth with her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and her children, Charles and Anne at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.  (Photo by Lisa Sheridan/Studio Lisa/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth with Prince Philip and Charles and Anne at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, 1952. Charles used his first Christmas address to discuss his late mother's legacy and grief during times of celebration. (Getty Images)

He also noted his appreciation for the many condolences he received after the death of the Queen and spoke about the difficulty of a festive season tinged with grief.

"Christmas is a particularly poignant time for all of us who have lost loved ones." Charles said, "we feel their absence at every familiar turn of the season and remember them in each cherished tradition".

The King reiterated the importance of multi-faith communities.

It was in the 1990s that Charles first said he wished to be known as 'defender of faith' rather than 'defender of the faith' when he became King.

At the time, the comments were controversial, and since acceding to the throne, Charles has made it clear his official title will remain Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

However, census data recently released by the ONS showed that the amount of people identifying themselves as Christians has fallen below 50% for the first time, casting doubt on the longevity of the monarch's role as head of the church.

Britain's King Charles III (R) and Britain's Camilla, Queen Consort (L) wave to members of the public as they arrive for the Royal Family's traditional Christmas Day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, eastern England, on December 25, 2022. (Photo by Daniel LEAL / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Led by Charles, the Royal Family were out in full force for the annual Christmas day church service on the Sandringham estate. (Getty Images)

Charles used his first address to explore shared values between different faith groups and the universality of "the power of light overcoming darkness".

"While Christmas is, of course, a Christian celebration", he said, "the power of light overcoming darkness is celebrated across the boundaries of faith and belief. So, whatever faith you have, or whether you have none, it is in this life-giving light, and with the true humility that lies in our service to others, that I believe we can find hope for the future".

The King didn't mention the climate crisis

Despite environmentalism being a cause Charles has campaigned on for decades, he didn't mention it in his first Christmas message. When he took the throne in September and gave his first address as monarch, he noted that his life had now irrevocably changed and that he would not be able to dedicate himself to some causes in the same way.

"My life will of course change as I take up my new responsibilities. It will no longer be possible for me to give so much of my time and energies to the charities and issues for which I care so deeply. But I know this important work will go on in the trusted hands of others", he said at the time.

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: King Charles III delivers his address to the nation and the Commonwealth from Buckingham Palace following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday 8th September in Balmoral, on September 9, 2022 in London, England. (Photo Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
King Charles III delivering his first address to the nation and the Commonwealth from Buckingham Palace following the death of Queen Elizabeth. (Getty Images)

William is a passionate advocate of environmentalism and sustainability, and will continue in his father's footsteps in this area with projects like the Earthshot Prize, which aims to find solutions to the climate crisis.

While Charles didn't explicitly mention climate issues, the Christmas tree in the background of the speech was decorated with ornaments from sustainable materials like paper and pine cones.

These small details show that the King remains committed to a reign that will be as environmentally friendly as possible, even if he is bound by constitutional neutrality and unable to publicly discuss the highly politicised crisis in the same way.

Charles talked about the cost of living crisis

However, the new King did touch on another politicised issue in his Christmas speech: the cost of living crisis and those in the UK who are "finding ways to pay their bills and keep their families fed and warm".

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15: In this photo released on December 24, King Charles III is seen during the 'Together at Christmas' Carol Service at Westminster Abbey on December 15, 2022 in London, England.  The service will be broadcast on ITV1 on Christmas Eve as part of a Royal Carols: Together At Christmas programme, narrated by Catherine Zeta Jones and featuring an introduction by Catherine, Princess of Wales and tributes to Queen Elizabeth II. (Photo Yui Mok - Pool/Getty Images)
Charles at the 'Together at Christmas' carol service hosted by the Princess of Wales at Westminster Abbey. (Getty Images)

He discussed the importance of service to community in this time of "anxiety and hardship" and paid tribute to volunteers willing to dedicate their time to charitable works alongside those who make donations, both financial and of food.

"I particularly want to pay tribute to all those wonderfully kind people who so generously give food or donations, or that most precious commodity of all – their time - to support those around them in greatest need".

Charles also spoke about how the challenge of feeding those going hungry this winter has been tackled by "Our Churches, Synagogues, Mosques, Temples and Gurdwaras", who "have once again united in feeding the hungry".

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