Doctor Who, Call the Midwife and other Christmas TV specials may get most of the attention in this year’s special Radio Times double issue, but none of them can hold a candle to the Queen’s Christmas message, which has been a British broadcasting tradition for over 80 years.
The tradition began in 1932 under King George V as a radio broadcast, and Queen Elizabeth II has delivered the speech ever year since 1952 – apart from in 1969, when she wrote her Christmas address rather than broadcast it.
The first fully televised Queen’s Christmas Broadcast took place in 1957 – watch the footage below.
Find out more about this year’s Queen’s Christmas Day speech below.
What time is the Queen’s Christmas speech on TV?
The Queen’s Christmas Message in 2017 will be broadcast at 3pm on BBC1, ITV, Sky 1 and Sky News. It will last approximately ten minutes. The speech will also be broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
What will be in the Queen’s Christmas speech this year?
The contents of the speech is kept closely under wraps until broadcast. However, following the news that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are to be married, it would be surprising if the Queen does not reference the royal engagement in her broadcast.
The Queen uses the speech to reflect on the year’s major events, and look forward to what the future holds for Britain and the Commonwealth.
The 2016 speech saw the Queen refer to the ‘inspirational’ example of Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes at Rio 2016, and the value of “ordinary people doing extraordinary things”.
The Queen writes her own Christmas speeches, and according to the BBC is one of the few occasions where she does not seek government advice and is free to voice her own thoughts.
What is the Alternative Christmas message?
Since 1993, Channel 4 has broadcast an ‘alternative Christmas message’ which airs at the same time as the Queen’s Christmas message. Last year Brendan Cox, husband of murdered MP Jo Cox, delivered the alternative broadcast. This year’s speech is still to be confirmed.