For more than 60 years, Queen Elizabeth has given her annual Christmas speech to the public from the comfort of her home at Buckingham Palace. Since her first-ever address on December 25, 1957, fans of the royal family have looked forward to her yearly broadcasts.
The royal tradition, more formally known as the King’s Christmas Message, first began in 1932. The royal family instituted the annual speech in an effort to reflect on the the year, including major events and personal milestones with the British monarchy.
Elizabeth began making her annual Christmas speech a few years after she ascended to the throne in 1953. Prior to TV broadcasts, the King’s Christmas Message was circulated around the Commonwealth nations via radio. In 1957, Her Majesty made history after accepting the BBC’s request to read her remarks live on TV from her Norfolk estate in Sandringham.
Although royal admirers love huddling around their TVs to watch Elizabeth address the public on Christmas day, an insider close to the former princess revealed she isn’t much of a fan. Princess Diana‘s former royal butler, Paul Burrell, told Daily Mail last year how Elizabeth tends to leave the room when her annual speech comes on.
“The queen’s speech will be played at 3 p.m., [the royals] go through the saloon drawing room and switch the TV on, people will be expected to be there,” the royal expert dished. “But the one person missing will be Her Majesty, who will slip through the north end door and go for a walk, as she doesn’t like to watch herself.”
Paul told the outlet Elizabeth’s royal family members — like husband Prince Philip, son Prince Charles and grandkids Prince William and Prince Harry, among others — are always sure to make her feel better. “Then when she’s back they will congratulate her saying, ‘Oh, you were very good this year, Granny. Well done,'” he added.
The former royal worker also told the outlet Christmas is the Queen’s favorite holiday because she loves having all of her family members together in one household. As fans know, members of the royal family and the queen’s closest loved ones gather each year at her famed Sandringham Estate for her annual Christmas celebration.
“The Queen especially loves Christmas because she has her entire family under one roof. She wants to do things with the family, but she still does her boxes, even on Christmas Day,” he explained. “She always puts work before pleasure.”
Scroll through the gallery below to see Elizabeth’s Christmas speech looks through the years!
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