The year The Queen missed her Christmas speech

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This latest image from The Queen’s reign doesn’t exist because it marks a moment where, unexpectedly, we didn’t see Elizabeth II.

In her almost 70 year reign, The Queen has always broadcast to the country and to the Commonwealth on Christmas Day. Except once. In 1969, her Majesty decided to issue a written message instead.

Christmas came just months after the broadcast of a special programme, The Royal Family, which had followed The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and their children and given an unparalleled insight into their lives. However, there was already some concern in royal circles that it had all been a bit too much. The Queen decided to send her festive greetings by letter, instead.

It’s the only time since 1952 that she hasn’t appeared on camera at Christmas. It’s unlikely to happen again. So here, in full, are the words of what proved to be a truly historic Christmas Speech.

I have received a great number of kind letters and messages of regard and concern about this year’s break with the usual broadcast at Christmas and I want you all to know that my good wishes are no less warm and personal because they come to you in a different form.

In a short time the 1960s will be over but not out of our memories. Historians will record them as the decade in which men first reached out beyond our own planet and set foot on the moon, but each one of us will have our own special triumphs or tragedies to look back on.

My own thoughts are with my older children who are entering the service of the people of this country and the Commonwealth. It is a great satisfaction and comfort to me and my husband to know that they have won a place in your affections.

We are all looking forward to our visit to Australia and New Zealand for the Cook Bi-centenary celebrations, and also to Fiji and Tonga. Later next year we hope to see something of the fascinating development of Northern Canada.

It is only natural that we should all be dazzled and impressed by the triumphs of technology, but Christmas is a festival of the spirit. At this time our concern is particularly for the lonely, the sick and the elderly. I hope they will all feel the warmth and comfort of companionship and that all of you will enjoy a very happy Christmas with your families and friends.

God bless you all.

About Post Author

Lydia Starbuck

Lydia Starbuck is Jubilee and Associate Editor at Royal Central and the main producer and presenter of the Royal Central Podcast and Royal Central Extra. Lydia is also a pen name of June Woolerton who is a journalist and writer with over twenty years experience in TV, radio, print and online. Her latest book, A History of British Royal Jubilees, is out now. Her new book, The Mysterious Death of Katherine Parr, will be published in March 2024. June is an award winning reporter, producer and editor. She's appeared on outlets including BBC 5 Live, BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Local Radio and has also helped set up a commercial radio station. June is also an accomplished writer with a wide range of material published online and in print. She is the author of two novels, published as e-books. She is also a marriage registrar and ceremony celebrant.