Queen’s speech ‘expected to be particularly personal’ in year of Philip’s death

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  • Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
    Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
    Prince consort

The Queen’s Christmas Day message is expected to be a particularly personal one this year, as the monarch prepares to spend her first festive period since the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

A photograph released by Buckingham Palace ahead of her televised address to the nation shows the Queen sat behind a desk in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle, accompanied by a single, framed picture of the Queen and her late husband Prince Philip taken in 2007 at Broadlands country house, Hampshire, to mark their Diamond Wedding Anniversary.

The handout still shows the Queen wearing an embossed wool shift dress in Christmas red, by British designer Angela Kelly, as well as a sapphire chrysanthemum brooch which the then-Princess Elizabeth wore for a photocall on her honeymoon, also to Broadlands, in 1947, and for the couple’s Diamond Wedding celebrations.

Princess Elizabeth in 1947 enjoying a stroll with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, at Broadlands, Hampshire, during their first public appearance since their wedding
Princess Elizabeth in 1947 enjoying a stroll with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, at Broadlands, Hampshire, during their first public appearance since their wedding (PA)

She is sat in front of an illuminated Christmas tree.

This year’s message follows the death of the duke in April aged 99, while coronavirus restrictions at the time meant the Queen was memorably and poignantly forced to sit alone in St George’s Chapel for his funeral service.

The Queen is expected to be joined at Windsor Castle on Christmas Day by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, having shelved her customary trip to Sandringham as a “precautionary” measure amid rising coronavirus cases.

Her speech marks the end of a year peppered with both joy and immense sadness.

The Queen welcomed four new great-grandchildren to the family – August to Princess Eugenie, Lucas to Zara Tindall, Lilibet to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and Sienna to Princess Beatrice.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, pictured on their Diamond Anniversary
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Broadlands in 2007 (Fiona Hanson/PA)

There was also scandal, following Harry and Meghan’s bombshell interview with US chat show titan Oprah Winfrey in which they accused an unnamed royal of racism, as well as other allegations about the institution.

The royals also had to contend with allegations from Virginia Giuffre, who started legal action against the Duke of York for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager. Andrew has repeatedly denied all claims.

The Queen used her 2020 Christmas broadcast to deliver a heartfelt message of hope to the country, praising the “indomitable spirit” of those who had risen “magnificently” to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Queen’s address to the nation will be broadcast across multiple channels at 3pm on Christmas Day.

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