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How the Queen used her Christmas speech to lift the nation's spirits after difficult years


There are few things the Queen hasn't seen in her 68 years as head of state, but a global pandemic was one of them through 2020.

Coronavirus has proven to be a global challenge unseen since the Spanish flu of 1918, eight years before Queen Elizabeth II was born in 1926.

During her reign, the Queen has used her annual Christmas addresses to gather the nation together during troubled times.

On the occasion of her 67th broadcast – in 1969 she only has one – the royal family released a collage of photos from their appearances over the years.

From her first address in 1952 after the death of her father, King George VI. About her speech from 1982 as British troops in the Falklands War to the 2005s when the world was rocked by the Boxing Day tsunami and London was the target of the 7 /. 7 bomb attacks.

So what can we expect from this year's address?

In a rare speech in April, the Queen addressed the nation to thank the people for following government rules during the first national lockdown to fight the coronavirus. It was seen by nearly 24 million viewers.

The Queen has used her address to the nation to thank NHS workers for their "selfless" efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus

The royal family celebrated Christmas Eve with a collage of photos from the Queen's various Christmas message appearances over the years

The royal family celebrated Christmas Eve with a collage of photos from the Queen's various Christmas message appearances over the years

She ended the speech with "We will meet again" – an obvious reference to Dame Vera Lyn's famous war anthem – We will meet again.

Then a way out of the pandemic seemed a long way off, but with the recent vaccine breakthroughs and the fact that the UK was the first country to approve a coronavirus vaccine for use, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

When we look back at previous addresses, we are reminded that in years of great need there were moments we were grateful for and reasons to be hopeful.

Hence, we can expect The Queens speech this year – like many years before – to be marked by optimism and hope, mixed with grief for those lost to the virus in 2020.

1952 – The Queen's first Christmas address

The Queen's first Christmas speech in 1952 came on the radio at a time when the country – and the world – were still being hit by the aftermath of World War II and the death of King George VI, who was viewed by many as a leader Voice in the challenging time.

Like the queen, responsibility for the throne was transferred to her father at an unexpected time. The rise of King George VI Followed the abdication of his brother Edward VIII, while the Queen's father died at the age of only 56.

In her first speech at the age of only 26 and at the same desk where her father gave the nation's address every year in the study at Sandringham House, the Queen began by referring to him.

December 25, 1952: Queen Elizabeth II sends her first Christmas broadcast to the nation from Sandringham House, Norfolk

December 25, 1952: Queen Elizabeth II sends her first Christmas broadcast to the nation from Sandringham House, Norfolk

At any time during this time, my beloved father sent a message to his people in all parts of the world. Today I do this to you who are now my people.

"As before, I will speak to you from home, where I will be spending Christmas with my family."

She went on to mention those who were serving the country abroad at the time, in countries like Korea, where the Korean War was raging, Malaya, and Kenya.

George VI; King of the United Kingdom, shown as Duke of York along with Elizabeth (Duchess of York) and Princess Elizabeth later Queen Elizabeth II. Princess Margaret is the younger child. The Queen followed in her father's footsteps and gave her first Christmas address in 1952

George VI; King of the United Kingdom, shown as Duke of York along with Elizabeth (Duchess of York) and Princess Elizabeth later Queen Elizabeth II. Princess Margaret is the younger child. The Queen followed in her father's footsteps and gave her first Christmas address in 1952

“I have a special thought for those who serve their country in distant lands far from their families.

"Wherever you are at home or on the move, in the snow or in the sunshine, I greet you warmly with all the best for Christmas and New Year," she said to her millions of listeners.

She then thanked the people of the British Commonwealth and Empire for their "loyalty and affection" since taking the throne 10 months earlier and asked them to pray for them on Coronation Day the following summer.

1982 – The Falklands War and the "Sea" theme

In 1982, the Queen's Christmas show celebrated the tradition's 50th anniversary and 30 years since she first played it as Queen. It was also first broadcast from the Library of Windsor Castle.

At a time when Britain was waging war against Argentina to defend the Falkland Islands, the subject of this speech was the sea, and Her Majesty recorded the British Commonwealth's historical relationship with the ocean.

William became the conqueror after invading England by sea. It was the expeditions of the great sailors in Queen Elizabeth's day that laid the foundation for modern trade; and to this day 90 percent of it goes by sea, ”she said.

In 1982, the Queen's Christmas address focused on the theme of the Sea, where she praised the British forces who fought in the Falklands War

In 1982, the Queen's Christmas address focused on the theme of the Sea, where she praised the British forces who fought in the Falklands War

British troops aboard the SS Canberra return from the Falkland Islands. Royal Marines return from the Falklands War, UK, 1982

British troops aboard the SS Canberra return from the Falkland Islands. Royal Marines return from the Falklands War, UK, 1982

"Throughout history, seafarers around the world have had a common experience and there is a special sense of brotherhood between merchant and seafarers, fishermen, lifeboats and, more recently, sailors," she added, before making the connection created the conflict of the time.

She told viewers that earlier this year "the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy made it possible for our sailors, soldiers and airmen to save the Falkland Islanders 8,000 miles across the ocean".

She then praised the shared values ​​with other Commonwealth nations and the unity that resulted, saying: "Nothing could have demonstrated this unity more clearly than the immensely comforting support that the Commonwealth gave Great Britain during the crisis in the Falkland Islands."

The Queen also referred to the Commonwealth Games that same year to highlight the growing diversity among nations by saying "Color is no longer an indication of national origins" and praised the growing tolerance of the people at the time.

1991 – The fall of the Soviet Union

1991 marked the end of the Cold War when the first public elections were held in Russia after years under the Soviet Union.

The queen, who saw her rise and fall, used her Christmas message this year to reflect on the tremendous changes in Eastern Europe and Russia, and to highlight the importance of democratic traditions.

"When I first sent to you at Christmas in 1952, the world was a very different place from what we live in today," she began in 1991.

The Berlin Wall in front of the Branderburger Tor on the night of November 9, 1989. Thousands of celebrities climbed the wall when the news quickly spread that the GDR government would now issue an exit visa to anyone who wanted to go to the West. In the years to come, the Soviet Union would collapse, as mentioned in the Queen's 1991 speech

The Berlin Wall in front of the Branderburger Tor on the night of November 9, 1989. Thousands of celebrities climbed the wall when the news quickly spread that the GDR government would now issue an exit visa to anyone who wanted to go to the West. In the years to come, the Soviet Union would collapse, as mentioned in the Queen's 1991 speech

The Queen speaks to the nation and the Commonwealth in her traditional Christmas speech in 1991

The Queen speaks to the nation and the Commonwealth in her traditional Christmas speech in 1991

Only seven years had passed since the end of the most destructive wars in human history. Even the end of hostilities did not bring the true peace so many had fought and died for. What came to be known as the "Cold War" maintained an atmosphere of suspicion, fear, and fear for many years. "

Suddenly, she said, things started to change when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and an agreement was made between the US and the Soviet Union to reduce their nuclear arsenals and the repressive regimes collapsed under popular pressure.

"These liberated peoples have taken, one after another, the first hesitant and sometimes painful steps towards open and democratic societies," she said, calling on the people of Britain to set an example for those forging new democracies.

She also paid tribute to the soldiers and women who fought and worked in the Gulf during the war, and the hostages whom she pointed out in last year's speech: "Our prayers for their safe return were largely answered."

1997 – The death of Princess Diana

1997 was marked by the death of Diana, Princess of Wales – first wife of the Queen's first son and second to the throne of Prince Charles – in a car accident in Paris on August 31st.

Some corners accused the queen of ill-treating the tragedy that rocked the nation, and it has been well documented that the couple had a strained relationship. The Queen's Christmas message was an opportunity to change that perception.

She opened the 1997 Christmas Address with a poem, Auguries of Innocence by William Blake, on the subject of loss.

& # 39; Joy ​​and sorrow are well interwoven,

A clothing for the divine soul,

Under every grief and jaw

A joy runs with a silk cord, ”she read.

"We all felt the shock and sadness of Diana's death," she said. Thousands upon thousands of you expressed their grief most poignantly in the wonderful flowers and messages that were left in homage to you.

In 1997 the Queen raised the issue of loss after the death of Princess Diana and said: "I am very well aware that there are many of you who are alone, bereaved or suffering."

In 1997 the Queen raised the issue of loss after the death of Princess Diana and said: "I am very well aware that there are many of you who are alone, bereaved or suffering."

"It was a great comfort to those close to her as people around the world came to us here in Britain for this service at Westminster Abbey."

As she spoke, the screen showed images of floral tributes left by the public outside Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace.

"It was a great comfort to those close to her as people around the world came to us here in Britain for this service at Westminster Abbey," she added.

Then she went on to say that she and her husband Prince Phillip had a happier occasion at the abbey where they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

Diana, Princess of Wales, Prince William, Prince Harry, Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Trooping the Color, June 17, 1989

Diana, Princess of Wales, Prince William, Prince Harry, Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Margaret, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Trooping the Color, June 17, 1989

Prince Philip and I also knew the joy of our golden wedding anniversary. We were happy to share this joy at Buckingham Palace with many other couples celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, ”she said before reaching out to other families who may have lost loved ones this year, like this the royal family had done done.

“For most of us this is a happy family day. But I am well aware that there are many of you who are alone, bereaved, or suffering.

"My heart goes out to you, and I pray that we, the happier ones, can unite to help whenever we need to, rather than" dropping in on the other side. "

2001 – September 11th and foot and mouth disease

In a year when the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York that killed 2,977 people, the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Britain's farming community, and the famine in Sudan, the Queen's 2001 Christmas programs focused on communities who work together to respond to disaster – especially religion.

"The terrorist crimes in the United States last September brought us the pain and grief of ordinary people around the world innocently implicated in such an evil," she said.

As she spoke, viewers were shown pictures of memorial services in the UK playing the American national anthem as crowds gathered to pay their respects.

The Queen's Christmas broadcast in 2001 emphasized the importance of communities responding to problems and disasters together after 9/11 and other disasters

The Queen's Christmas broadcast in 2001 emphasized the importance of communities responding to problems and disasters together after 9/11 and other disasters

Smoke pours from the twin towers of the World Trade Center after they were hit by two hijacked aircraft in a September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York City

Smoke pours from the twin towers of the World Trade Center after they were hit by two hijacked aircraft in a September 11, 2001 terrorist attack in New York City

In the days that followed, we tried to find ways to express our horror at what had happened. As is so often the case in our lives in times of tragedy – just like on occasions of celebration and Thanksgiving – we expect the Church to bring us together as a nation or as a community in remembrance and tribute.

In these circumstances, so many of us, regardless of religion, need our faith more than ever to support and guide us. Each of us must believe in the value of all that is good and honest. We need to let this belief fuel and influence our actions. & # 39;

Pictures were shown of the Queen and Prince Phillip visiting local and various communities as she highlighted the importance of belief in all religions.

“We all have something to learn from one another, regardless of our beliefs – be it Christian or Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or Sikh – regardless of our background, whether young or old, from the city or from the country.

& # 39; This is an important lesson for all of us during this festive season. Christmas is a moment to pause, reflect and believe in the possibilities of rebirth and renewal, ”she said.

2005 – Natural disasters and bombings in London

As in 2020 with the coronavirus pandemic, the world experienced an unprecedented natural disaster in 2004 in the form of the Boxing Day tsunami, which killed over 225,000 people in Southeast Asia.

The disaster occurred the day after the Queen's Christmas speech in 2004, which meant she had to wait twelve months to address it.

During this time, other disasters occurred. Hurricane Katrina caused deadly floods in New Orleans, a series of hurricanes in the Caribbean, and an earthquake in Pakistan and India, killing over 70,000 people and leaving millions homeless.

London, which is closer to home, witnessed its own terrorist attacks on July 7, 2005, killing 56 people and injuring 784 in a series of coordinated Islamist suicide bombings across the capital.

In 2005, the Queen praised the generous humanitarian aid and compassion of those who suffered the aftermath of natural disasters and acts of terrorism during the year

In 2005, the Queen praised the generous humanitarian aid and compassion of those who suffered the aftermath of natural disasters and acts of terrorism during the year

"The day after my last Christmas message was broadcast, the world experienced one of the worst natural disasters ever recorded," she said, opening the 2005 Christmas Address.

& # 39; The devastating tsunami hit countries around the Indian Ocean, causing death and destruction on an unprecedented scale. A series of vicious hurricanes in the Caribbean and the flooding of the city of New Orleans followed. Then came the massive earthquake in Pakistan and India in the fall. & # 39;

Then she said of pictures of remembrance services for those killed in the bombings in London: “In this country the lives of many people were completely changed by the bombings in London in July.

"This Christmas my thoughts are especially with those everywhere who mourn the loss of loved ones in such a terrible year for so many."

However, she continued to praise the humanitarian aid sparked worldwide by both the natural and human tragedies in 2005.

"People with compassion around the world responded with immediate practical and financial help," she said.

A bomb destroyed the No. 30 double-decker bus in Tavistock Square / Woburn Place in London on July 7, 2005

A bomb destroyed the No. 30 double-decker bus in Tavistock Square / Woburn Place in London on July 7, 2005

The aerial photo shows a coastal area of ​​Banda Aceh on January 5, 2005, two weeks after a powerful tsunami hit the region on December 26, 2004 following a submarine earthquake and more than 225,000 people were killed or missing

The aerial photo shows a coastal area of ​​Banda Aceh on January 5, 2005, two weeks after a powerful tsunami hit the region on December 26, 2004 following a submarine earthquake and more than 225,000 people were killed or missing

“There may be an instinct in all of us to help people in need, but in many cases I believe that it was inspired by religious belief. Christianity is not the only religion that teaches its followers to help others and to treat those around you as you would like to be treated yourself.

"It was clear that aid and financial support would come from members of all faiths and from all over the world later this year."

Then she invoked the spirit of World War II and remembered the fallen in the war. "In moments of greatest trial, the people around her seemed able to draw on inner strength to find courage and compassion."

“The past year has reminded us that this world isn't always an easy or safe place to live, but it's the only place we have. I also believe that it has shown us all how our beliefs – regardless of our religion – can inspire us to work together in friendship and peace in the interests of our own and future generations. & # 39;

2015 – The refugee crisis

The year 2015 was marked by catastrophes, terrorist attacks and the refugee crisis when people fled the war in Syria.

Using the 2015 Christmas address to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the Queen thanked those who served in the conflict.

She then shared with the audience how her great-great-grandparents, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, popularized the tradition of the Christmas tree and put an angel on it to remind us of the story behind Christmas.

In 2015, the Queen alluded to the story of Mary and Joseph and linked them to the refugee crisis when people fled their homes in Syria and promoted kindness in the face of adversity

In 2015, the Queen alluded to the story of Mary and Joseph and linked them to the refugee crisis when people fled their homes in Syria and promoted kindness in the face of adversity

Hundreds of migrants who arrived by train in Hegyeshalom on the Hungarian and Austrian borders walk the four kilometers to Austria on September 22, 2015 in Hegyeshalom, Hungary

Hundreds of migrants who arrived by train in Hegyeshalom on the Hungarian and Austrian borders walk the four kilometers to Austria on September 22, 2015 in Hegyeshalom, Hungary

The circumstances of Jesus' birth – in a stable – were far from ideal for Joseph and Mary, but things turned out to be worse when the family was forced to flee the country. It is no surprise that such a human story still catches our imaginations and inspires all of us who are Christians around the world, ”she said.

She then linked the story of Mary, Joseph and Jesus with the refugee crisis in the Middle East in 2015.

“Although Christ was driven out and persecuted during his short life, Christ's unchanging message was not vengeance or violence, but simply that we should love each other,” she said.

“While this message is not easy to follow, we should not be discouraged. Rather, it inspires us to try harder: to be grateful for the people who bring love and happiness into our own lives, and to look for ways to pass that love on to others whenever and wherever we can. & # 39;

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