King uses first Christmas Day broadcast to pay tribute to those ‘trying to keep their families warm’


The King has used his first Christmas Day broadcast to pay tribute to those trying to “pay their bills and keep their families fed and warm” amid the cost of living crisis.

It is a historic first address – both for King Charles personally, and the UK, as it marks the first time a male monarch has made a televised speech on 25 December.

The last King to make a festive speech was King George VI in 1951. At the time, televisions were not as widely owned as they are today, so his address was broadcast on the wireless.

Christmas Day live: Royals at Sandringham

King Charles III, centre, right, and Camilla, the Queen Consort lead the Royal Family as they arrive to attend the Christmas day service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham in Norfolk, England, Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort lead the Royal Family as they arrive to attend the Christmas day service

As well as paying tribute to his late mother, the King also praised other working members of the Royal Family, including the Prince and Princess of Wales, with images shown of official events.

However, notably, there were no images of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who stepped down as working royals in 2020.

Instead, the King’s son and daughter-in-law were shown during a visit to St Thomas Church in Swansea in September, and he said: “The Prince and Princess of Wales recently visited Wales, shining a light on practical examples of this community spirit.”

More on Royal Family

Other members of the Royal Family were shown at official events from the Queen’s 2018 visit to the RAF Club in London to the Queen Consort handing children Paddington bears left in memory of the late monarch.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex and Princess Royal were also featured.

The year is drawing to a close after a challenging few months for the new monarch, facing the fallout from Harry and Meghan’s Netflix documentary, as well as accusations of racism within inner royal circles.

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King arrives at early church service

Mirror of the late Queen’s speech

The King spoke about the “great anxiety and hardship” experienced by many, with his message accompanied by footage of a foodbank and other scenes of meals being distributed to the homeless.

He also praised volunteers, paying tribute to the “wonderfully kind people” who donated food or their time as the country grapples with the severe economic downturn.

The monarch delivered his historic Christmas broadcast standing in the quire of St George’s Chapel, mirroring the late Queen’s 1999 festive address, and it followed his mother’s well-established template, a personal reflection on the year, touching on current issues and with a Christian framework.

The pre-recorded message began with the King reflecting on how he was standing “so close to where my beloved mother, the late Queen, is laid to rest with my dear father” in the King George VI Memorial Chapel, and he thanked the public for the “love and sympathy” expressed in cards and messages of condolence.

But the King also recognised other faiths, highlighting how religious communities were helping those in financial difficulties and, like Christians, believed in the “power of light overcoming darkness”.

A tribute to the Queen

The central theme was a celebration of “selfless dedication”, a value embodied by Queen Elizabeth II and reflected in the actions of many, from the emergency services to public-spirited individuals, which helped to build and strengthen communities.

Footage was shown of the Armed Forces and emergency services at work, from soldiers carrying sandbags to a speeding ambulance, followed by doctors and nurses on a ward and care workers in a home.

The Queen records her annual Christmas address in the White Drawing Room in Windsor Castle
The Queen pictured during her final Christmas broadcast

A few days before the late Queen’s funeral on October 19, the King told faith leaders gathered at Buckingham Palace, as monarch he had an important role to discharge “…the duty to protect the diversity of our country, including by protecting the space for faith itself and its practise through the religions, cultures, traditions and beliefs to which our hearts and minds direct us as individuals.”

He recognised those other faiths when he said in his Christmas message: “Our churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and gurdwaras, have once again united in feeding the hungry, providing love and support throughout the year.

“Such heartfelt solidarity is the most inspiring expression of loving our neighbour as our self.”

Among the collection of video clips showing the King at official events, he was seen wearing a Sikh rumal, or handkerchief, on his head as a mark of respect during a visit to the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Luton earlier this month, and receiving condolences from the public during a walkabout outside Buckingham Palace in September.

His own faith was another central theme and he spoke about fulfilling a “life-long wish” to visit Bethlehem in 2020 and stand close to the sacred site in the Church of the Nativity that marks the spot where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born.

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