For the first time, a living tree has been used as the backdrop for the monarch's Christmas Day speech.

The King will deliver the second Christmas message of his reign from Buckingham Palace in a broadcast recorded before he headed to Sandringham in Norfolk for the festive period.

It is the first time a living tree has been used as part of the decoration for Charles’ annual festive address to the nation and Commonwealth.

King Charles, like Queen Elizabeth, writes his own Christmas broadcasts, and last year he followed his mother’s well-established template, starting with a personal reflection on the year, touching on current issues and with elements of the Christian message throughout.

The King is a long-term environmental campaigner who delivered a speech at the recent Cop28 UN Climate Change summit.

The tree will be replanted after the broadcast.

Natural and sustainable decorations hang from the tree, including hand-turned wood, dried oranges, glass baubles, pine cones and paper.

King Charles and Queen Camilla will be celebrating Christmas with a larger-than-usual collection of the royal family at Sandringham, including Queen Camilla's children and grandchildren, the Prince and Princess of Wales and their children and Princess Royal, her husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence and her family, among others.

Eastern Daily Press: King Charles has chatted to members of the crowd in previous Christmases at SandringhamKing Charles has chatted to members of the crowd in previous Christmases at Sandringham (Image: Ian Burt)

Thousands of people are expected to fill the public viewing area at the Norfolk estate and police officers will be on duty.

The road next to the visitor centre at Sandringham will be partially closed between 7am and 1pm on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.

Those hoping to catch a glimpse of the royal family are encouraged to arrive in plenty of time to allow for delays.

The King's Christmas message is due to be broadcast at 3pm on Christmas Day, and will again delivered standing up.

This year’s filming location is the Buckingham Palace room that leads onto the royal residence’s iconic balcony.