The Queen told the story of her year in pictures and decorations at Buckingham Palace as she recorded her Christmas broadcast.
The 92-year-old filmed her annual message two weeks ago, preaching a message of ‘peace on earth and goodwill to all’ amid rancorous political divisions in Britain this year.
Photos laid out in the White Drawing Room included pictures from the two royal weddings in 2018 – Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s ceremony in May and Princess Eugenie’s marriage to Jack Brooksbank in October.
She also paid tribute to Prince Charles, who marked his 70th birthday last month, with a black-and-white picture of her eldest son as a baby on the desk next to her as she spoke.
Scroll down for the full detail of the Queen’s Christmas scenery.
The picture shows: (1) the Queen’s ivory silk cocktail dress; (2) the Scarab brooch given to her by Prince Philip in 1966; (3) a gilded piano made for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1856; (4) a black-and-white photo of a six-month-old Prince Charles in 1949; (5) the Queen’s father Prince Albert, the future King George VI, in his Navy days around the time of the First World War; (6) Prince Charles and his family in a portrait to mark his 70th birthday; (7) an official photo from Princess Eugenie’s wedding to Jack Brooksbank; (8) Harry and Meghan at Windsor Castle after their marriage in May; (9) William and Kate’s family on this year’s Christmas card; (10) a marble figure made by a favourite sculptor of Queen Victoria; (11) a royal Christmas tree, first brought to Britain by Queen Charlotte, wife of George III; (12) one of the room’s four fireplaces
1. IVORY SILK COCKTAIL DRESS
In the Christmas broadcast the Queen is wearing an ivory silk cocktail dress, designed by her senior dresser Angela Kelly, with pastel blue, white and gold lamé lace overlay. She also made a replica of the Royal Christening Robe for Prince Louis’ ceremony at St James’ Palace on July 9, and a lime green hat which the Queen wore to Harry and Meghan’s wedding on May 19.
2. THE BROOCH GIVEN TO HER BY PHILIP
The Scarab brooch the Queen is wearing was a gift from Prince Philip in 1966. It was designed by Andrew Grima, and is crafted of yellow gold, with a carved ruby and diamond embellishments. The Queen’s 97-year-old husband has stepped back from official engagements but attended both royal weddings, notably being pictured with Princess Eugenie’s mother Sarah Ferguson for the first time since the 1990s.
3. GILDED PIANO GIVEN TO QUEEN VICTORIA
This magnificent gilded piano by S&P Erard was made for Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert in 1856. It is made of painted and varnished mahogany, satinwood and pine, with a gilded and painted surface by François Rochardit, with decorations such as monkeys playing musical instruments.
4. BABY PRINCE CHARLES
The picture, taken in April 1949, shows a smiling 23-year-old Princess Elizabeth and her husband Philip holding baby Charles. To mark Charles’s 70th birthday last month the Queen paid tribute to him as a ‘dedicated and respected heir to the throne to stand comparison with any in history’. The Queen used a black-tie dinner staged in Charles’s honour to praise him as ‘his own man, passionate and creative’.
This picture from April 26, 1949, showing a 23-year-old then-Princess Elizabeth – three years before she became Queen – with the Duke of Edinburgh and a baby Prince Charles, was on the Queen’s desk during the recording of her Christmas message
5. THE QUEEN’S FATHER
This portrait shows the future King George V – then known as Prince Albert – in his naval uniform, around the time he served on board HMS Collingwood during the naval Battle of Jutland in the First World War in 1916. The prince never expected to be King but took the throne in tumultuous circumstances after his brother, Edward VIII, abdicated in 1936. The Queen came to the throne when he died in February 1952.
6. CHARLES AND HIS FAMILY
This 70th birthday portrait shows Prince Charles at ease with his family. He sits with his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; his two children William and Harry and their wives Kate and Meghan; and his great-grandchildren George, Charlotte and Louis. Another great-grandchild is due to follow in the spring of 2019 when Meghan’s first child is expected. The picture was taken in the gardens of Clarence House in September.
7. PRINCESS EUGENIE’S WEDDING TO JACK BROOKSBANK
Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank pose with their page boys and bridesmaids in a different White Drawing Room, at Windsor where the couple married. The youngsters included Prince George and Prince Charlotte, Isla Phillips and Mia Tindall, as well as Theodora Williams, daughter of singer Robbie Williams and wife Ayda Field.
8. PRINCE HARRY’S WEDDING TO MEGHAN MARKLE
An official photo from Harry and Meghan’s star-studded wedding at Windsor on May 19 shows the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex smiling together on the East Terrace of Windsor Castle, with Meghan in her Givenchy gown. The ceremony combined the ceremony of a British royal family wedding with less traditional elements such as a spirited address by American bishop Michael Curry.
Old and new: The Queen’s father, Prince Albert – the future King George VI – in his Navy uniform about the time of the First World War (left), in a picture similar to one on the Queen’s desk; right: Harry and Meghan, the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex, are pictured together on the East Terrace of Windsor Castle on the day of their wedding on May 19
9. WILLIAM AND KATE’S CHRISTMAS CARD
This year’s Christmas card from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge features this photo of the couple with their children Prince George, aged five; Princess Charlotte, aged three; and Prince Louis, aged eight months. It was taken by Matt Porteous in the grounds of their country home at Anmer Hall, Norfolk, as they celebrate their first festive season as a family of five after Prince Louis’ birth in April.
10. VICTORIAN MARBLE SCULPTURE
This marble figure of Sappho, an ancient Greek poet, was the work of William Theed, a sculptor whose services were often used by Victoria and Albert and whose work appears across Buckingham Palace and Osborne House, Victoria’s summer retreat on the Isle of Wight.
11. CHRISTMAS TREES – BROUGHT TO BRITAIN BY THE ROYALS
Queen Charlotte, the German-born wife of George III, who is credited with introducing the Christmas tree to the UK, decorating an evergreen tree for the family as early as the 1790s with candles, paper flowers and sweets. It was Prince Albert who popularised the custom more widely, presenting trees to schools and Army barracks after a print showing the royal couple with their children around a tree was published in the Illustrated London News.
12. ONE OF FOUR FIREPLACES
On each of the White Drawing Room’s four walls there is a marble fireplace like this one. Three have a large overmantel mirror such as the one behind the Queen, while one has a portrait of Queen Alexandra, the wife of King Edward VII who reigned from 1901 to 1910.
Kate and William’s Christmas card: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge look relaxed with their children George, Charlotte and Louis as they celebrate their first festive season since their youngest child was born on April 23
Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank with their page boys and bridesmaids in Windsor Castle’s White Drawing Room – same name but a different venue to where the Queen recorded her broadcast. Back row: Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Theodora Williams, Isla Phillips, Louis De Givenchy. Front row: Mia Tindall, Savannah Phillips, Maud Windsor
The Queen, 92, will say: ‘I believe his message of peace on earth and goodwill to all is never out of date. It can be heeded by everyone; it’s needed as much as ever.’
During her address the monarch will also highlight the importance of people with strongly opposing views bridging the gap between one another, by being civil and acting with common decency.
She will say: ‘Even with the most deeply-held differences, treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step towards greater understanding.’
The Queen gives gifts to her staff, personally handing out the presents, usually vouchers, to long-serving members of the household.
The monarch and Philip send around 750 Christmas cards every year, which will usually feature a family photo. Cards are signed ‘Elizabeth R’ and ‘Philip’, and include their official cyphers.
Family, friends, and members of the Royal Household are the recipients, but British and Commonwealth Prime Ministers, Governor-Generals and High Commissioners may also be sent one.
Queen Charlotte, pictured – the wife of King George III – is credited with bringing the first Christmas trees to Britain from Germany, although it was Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert who popularised the festive decorations