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Queen’s poignant mementoes of Philip kept close for Christmas message

The Queen of England will deliver what is expected to be a particularly personal Christmas Day message surrounded by reminders of the Duke of Edinburgh, as she prepares to spend her first festive period without her late husband.

A photograph released by Buckingham Palace ahead of her televised address shows the Elizabeth sitting behind a desk in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle.

Next to her is a framed picture of her and Philip taken in 2007 at Broadlands country house, Hampshire, to mark their diamond wedding anniversary.

The handout picture shows Elizabeth wearing an embossed wool shift dress in Christmas red, by British designer Angela Kelly, as well as a chrysanthemum brooch which the then-Princess Elizabeth wore for a photocall on her honeymoon, also to Broadlands, in 1947.

The Queen also wore the brooch, made from sapphires and diamonds set in platinum, in a photo to mark the couple’s 73rd wedding anniversary last year.

She is sitting in front of an illuminated Christmas tree.

The tree that formed the backdrop of the Queen's Christmas broadcast in the White Drawing Room in Windsor Castle. The tree was decorated with more than 100 white and gold stars which were specially made by the children and staff of The Royal School, Windsor. Picture: ITN/PA Wire
The tree that formed the backdrop of the Queen’s Christmas broadcast in the White Drawing Room in Windsor Castle. The tree was decorated with more than 100 white and gold stars which were specially made by the children and staff of The Royal School, Windsor. Picture: ITN/PA Wire

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.

Buckingham Palace announced that the Queen has agreed to stage a service of thanksgiving for the life of the duke next spring, with the date and guestlist yet to be finalised.

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.

The Central Band of the Royal British Legion recording a segment for The Queen's Christmas Broadcast in the grounds of Windsor Castle. Picture: ITN/PA Wire
The Central Band of the Royal British Legion recording a segment for The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast in the grounds of Windsor Castle. Picture: ITN/PA Wire

It’s understood that she will be joined by 20 family members in all, including the Duke of York and his daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, Prince Edward and his wife Sophie Wessex and five of her great-grandchildren.

Charles, Camilla, the Wessexes and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester will attend a morning service at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, Clarence House said.

But the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be spending Christmas in Norfolk and will be joined by some members of the Middleton family.

The British monarch’s annual address marks the end of a year peppered with both joy and immense sadness.

Children at The Royal School, Windsor, who made 100 white and gold stars to decorate the Christmas tree that features in The Queen's Christmas Broadcast. Picture: ITN/PA Wire
Children at The Royal School, Windsor, who made 100 white and gold stars to decorate the Christmas tree that features in The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast. Picture: ITN/PA Wire

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.

There was also scandal this year, 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.

And the monarch has faced her own health issues this year, when, in October, she was admitted to hospital overnight for preliminary investigations and ordered by her doctors to rest.

The Singology Community Choir recording a segment for The Queen's Christmas Broadcast inside St George's Hall in Windsor Castle. Picture: ITN/PA Wire
The Singology Community Choir recording a segment for The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast inside St George’s Hall in Windsor Castle. Picture: ITN/PA Wire

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 on BBC One and UTV at 3pm on Christmas Day.

 



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