Retrospective: Queen Elizabeth of England on Christmas Day
One's royal finest
Christmas Day is of course known as a formal event for those who celebrate the seasonal holiday, and an intrinsic part of the festivities for many people across the world is The Royal Christmas Broadcast made by HRH Queen Elizabeth II of England.
The speech carefully reflects on present issues and concerns, and shares The Queen's perception of what Christmas means to her, and to many of her listeners. Over the years, the Christmas Broadcast has acted as a chronicle of global, national and personal events and notably, the attire selected by Her Majesty for the occasion – often designed by two couturiers in particular, Norman Hartnell and Hardy Aimes.
The first Christmas Broadcast was delivered by George V in 1932 and since then has evolved into an iconic event – as has the reining Queen's taste in fashion. Join Buro 24/7 today as we salute the Christmas Day style of Queen Elizabeth...
For the first ever televised Christmas broadcast The Queen read from the Long Library at Sandringham House and noted how it was the 25th anniversary of the first festive message broadcast on radio, selecting sparkling metallic leaf-print fabric and a three-strand pearl necklace to do so.
The Queen delivers her 1960 Christmas Broadcast from Buckingham Palace at the time of 3.00pm, chosen as the best hour for reaching most of the countries in the Empire by short waves from the radio transmitters in Britain. The event called for demure, classic, off-shoulder black and a sparkling brooch.
From 1960 onwards and the introduction of colour to television screens (namely the silk canary yellow dress pictured below) The Queen pre-recorded her Christmas message instead of delivering it live. This decade of speeches focused on the need for the world to strive for peace and understanding. In 1969, she chose not to broadcast her message. However, following public outcry, the tradition was reinstated in 1970.
On the December 25 1970 The Queen was joined by a young Prince Edward and The Duke of Edinburgh (followed by Prince Charles and Elizabeth the Queen Mother and Princess Anne) on the steps of St George's Chapel in Winsor, England. To celebrate the return of the royal speech, Her Majesty wore a rather becoming – and practical – floral hat, reflective of the decade's fondness of print.
As part of her 1971 Christmas message, Queen Elizabeth took on a homely approach, with viewers being able to watch her look through a photo album with the young Prince Andrew (pictured left) and Prince Edward, wearing a sky blue structured dress and pearl jewellery.
The Queen's Christmas Broadcast went slightly off-tradition in 1989, and included a film from a Save the Children Fund concert in the Royal Albert Hall in London. As damage to the environment continued to be a cause of global concern, The Queen used her message to urge children to respect and protect their world. "This year I thought I would use the presence of two thousand children at this occasion organised by Save the Children Fund in the Albert Hall, here in the heart of London, to send this special message to the children of the Commonwealth..." she said, choosing a relaxed and colourful dress to mark the change in protocol.
The Queen's Christmas message in 1990 paid tribute to the role of the British Armed Services, and was presented in a formal broadcast wearing a subdued powder pink suit...
Another somewhat difficult presentation for The Queen came in 1997, after a particularly sad year to reflect upon following the death of Princess Diana. Selecting a cornflower blue, checked tweed dress, diamond brooch and pearls, Her Majesty delivered a speech that mentioned personal loss and the joy of her own happy marriage.
Punctuating a stellar year for Great Britain that saw the country celebrate the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Queen Elizabeth commended "those who have shaped the United Kingdom's past and future as a maritime nation" in her public address last year. Always appropriate for the occasion, she wore silver brocade to wish the world a happy Christmas, championing the spirit of togetherness.