Royalty and statesmen

Standing in front of a piano in Buckingham Palace's music room, the British monarch makes her annual address in which she speaks of the support she and the Duke of Edinburgh have received from their nearest and dearest. For the first time ever the message, which goes out on Christmas day at 3pm on BBC One and ITV1, will also feature archive footage
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Queen emphasizes role of family during economic downturn in Christmas speech

24 DECEMBER 2008
In this year's Christmas broadcast, the Queen will express the importance of family in the current economic downturn, pointing specifically to the support that she and Prince Philip have received from their loved ones.

The Christmas message, which will be screened at 3pm on ITV1 and BBC One, is a rare chance for the monarch to express her own views without consulting the government. This year's speech written with input from the Duke of Edinburgh, also pays tribute those who've led unselfish lives in the service of others, and finds time to mention Prince Charles' 60th birthday.

For the first time ever the addresss will include personal archive footage - a never seen before clip of the Queen as a Princess playing with a one-year-old Prince Charles at Clarence house in 1949.

Eagle-eyed viewers may notice the pearls she wears in the clip are same as the one she wears to read the message. Given to her by her grandfather George V when she was a girl, they have remained her favourites to this day.

Like last year the speech will also be viewable on the Queen's YouTube Royal Channel at the time of broadcast and thereafter. And among viewers will be the British sovereign herself, who - as revealed by Prince Andrew last year worries about how it has come across. "Sometimes the Queen watches it and sometimes she sits in another room thinking, 'Has it come across in the right way?' he said. "It's always been a part of the family tradition."


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