The nation watched as King Charles III delivered his first Christmas speech as king, continuing the tradition of the British monarch giving a holiday broadcast. He was quick to note this was the first festive season since the passing of his mother, the Queen, in September at age 96. Charles chose to film the prerecorded address at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, where Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are buried. It’s also where the committal service was held for the Queen in September.
“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,” the King, 74, began his speech. “I am reminded of the deeply touching letters, cards and messages which so many of you have sent my wife and myself and I cannot thank you enough for the love and sympathy you have shown our whole family.”
“Christmas is a particularly poignant time for all of us who have lost loved ones.”
📺 In The King's Christmas Broadcast, His Majesty reflects on Queen Elizabeth II's faith in people and thanks those who have given their time to help others. pic.twitter.com/8RFCq6Wk0G
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) December 25, 2022
He continued, “Christmas is a particularly poignant time for all of us who have lost loved ones. We feel their absence at every familiar turn of the season and remember them in each cherished tradition.”
“In the much-loved carol ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem,’ we sing of how ‘in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light.’ My mother’s belief in the power of that light was an essential part of her faith in God, but also her faith in people — and it is one which I share with my whole heart. It is a belief in the extraordinary ability of each person to touch, with goodness and compassion, the lives of others, and to shine a light in the world around them. This is the essence of our community and the very foundation of our society,” the former Prince of Wales said, going on to praise the armed forces, emergency personnel, healthcare workers and public services professionals such as teachers.
“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, together with the many charitable organizations which do such extraordinary work in the most difficult circumstances,” he said. “Our Churches, Synagogues, Mosques, Temples and Gurdwaras have once again united in feeding the hungry, providing love and support throughout the year. Such heartfelt solidarity is the most inspiring expression of loving our neighbor as ourself. The Prince and Princess of Wales recently visited Wales, shining a light on practical examples of this community spirit.”
The first Christmas speech was delivered by King George V in 1932, with Queen Elizabeth appearing in the first televised broadcast in 1957 and every year since. According to People, the pressure was on for King Charles this year to “get it right.” “This first year, he will feel the pressure to get it right. Every nuance will be picked over,” a former palace staffer told the outlet. They added, “[The Queen] was a one-take wonder — she was extraordinary.”