The Queen's Christmas Message - think of the future with 'happiness and hope'
PUBLISHED: 15:22 25 December 2013 | UPDATED: 15:44 25 December 2013
The Queen spoke of her great-grandson Prince George in her Christmas broadcast, and said the birth of a baby allows people to think about the future with renewed "happiness and hope".
In her traditional message to the nation, the Queen also made an observation about the future for new parents - “life will never be quite the same again”.
After George’s christening in October, the Royal Family gathered for traditional photos to mark an event the head of state said was “a happy occasion”.
The Queen’s annual broadcast also featured behind-the-scenes footage taken at Clarence House as the royals posed for the christening pictures under the direction of celebrity portrait photographer Jason Bell.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s son George was born on July 22, at the private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital, in central London.
When William and Kate left hospital to greet the world’s media waiting outside, they could not contain their happiness as they chatted about their baby.
The Queen saw him a few days later but it is thought this is the first time she has publicly talked at length about the infant who will one day be king.
Delivering her message, which was recorded earlier this month at Buckingham Palace, the Queen said: “Here at home my own family is a little larger this Christmas.
“As so many of you will know, the arrival of a baby gives everyone the chance to contemplate the future with renewed happiness and hope.
“For the new parents, life will never be quite the same again.”
These words were accompanied by footage of William bouncing George up and down in his arms, with Kate by his side, as they chatted to other family members outside the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, ahead of their son’s christening.
Later that day a historic picture of four generations of the Royal Family - the Queen, Prince of Wales, William and George - was taken to mark the baby’s christening.
As the behind-the-scenes footage was shown, a voice, thought to be Mr Bell, could be heard saying “One, two, three” as a group picture was taken of the baby prince, his doting parents, the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Charles and Camilla and Prince Harry.
The Queen said in her broadcast: “As with all who are christened, George was baptised into a joyful faith of Christian duty and service. After the christening, we gathered for the traditional photograph.
“It was a happy occasion, bringing together four generations.”
The main theme of the Queen’s seasonal message to the nation was reflection and she looked back over the past 12 months to the 60th anniversary of her coronation, celebrated with a national service in June.
She also looked forward to the Commonwealth Games being staged in Glasgow next year.
Her broadcast began with the Queen telling her audience how a man she once knew gained a clearer insight into the world after spending a year in a plaster cast recovering from a back operation.
She said: “He read a lot, and thought a lot, and felt miserable. Later, he realised this time of forced retreat from the world had helped him to understand the world more clearly.
“We all need to get the balance right between action and reflection. With so many distractions, it is easy to forget to pause and take stock.”
The Queen’s traditional message was produced this year by the BBC and recorded in Buckingham Palace’s blue drawing room.
The room featured a large Christmas tree decorated with coloured baubles and next to the Queen, who delivered her message seated, was a table that featured pictures of her immediate family.
The historic picture showing four generations of the Royal Family was flanked on one side by a black and white image of her father George VI, and on the other by a similar photograph of her mother, the Queen Mother.
Angela Kelly designed the Queen’s gown, a single crepe wool primrose dress which she wore to William and Kate’s wedding in April 2011. On her left shoulder was a diamond, ruby and sapphire brooch, a present from her parents to celebrate the birth of Charles in 1948, which she wore at George’s christening.
Those who are not with their families this Christmas were in the Queen’s thoughts, from servicemen and women on operations abroad to emergency service workers.
Speaking about members of the armed forces serving overseas, the Queen said: “We are forever grateful to all those who put themselves at risk to keep us safe.”
Footage was shown of troops in Afghanistan and the Queen and Philip visiting the RNLI lifeboat station at St Ives, Cornwall, in May.
The Queen also cast her mind back to the moment she was crowned on June 2 1953 at Westminster Abbey, and in the same place of worship the nation gathered this summer to celebrate the historic event’s 60th anniversary.
She said: “I myself had cause to reflect this year, at Westminster Abbey, on my own pledge of service made in that great church on Coronation Day 60 years earlier.
“The anniversary reminded me of the remarkable changes that have occurred since the coronation, many of them for the better; and of the things that have remained constant, such as the importance of family, friendship and good neighbourliness.”
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby gave the address during the service commemorating the coronation, and there was footage of him saying: “Today we celebrate 60 years since that moment, 60 years of commitment.”
There was colour footage from the coronation showing the Queen in all her regalia processing through the Abbey in 1953 followed by scenes of cheering crowds in the streets outside.
Looking forward to the Commonwealth Games, the Queen said: “The baton relay left London in October and is now the other side of the world, on its way across 70 nations and territories before arriving in Scotland next summer.”
Images were shown of Olympic gold medallist Sir Chris Hoy holding the baton, then footage of it making its way around the globe.
The Queen said: “Its journey is a reminder that the Commonwealth can offer us a fresh view of life.
“My son Charles summed this up at the recent meeting in Sri Lanka. He spoke of the Commonwealth’s ‘family ties’ that are a source of encouragement to many.
“Like any family, there can be differences of opinion. But however strongly they’re expressed, they are held within the common bond of friendship and shared experiences.”
Images were shown of Charles and Camilla arriving for the opening of the Commonwealth heads of government meeting staged in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo last month.
The heir to the throne opened the summit as the Queen decided not to fly to Sri Lanka following a review by Buckingham Palace of her long-haul flights.
The broadcast ended with a military band playing the carol The First Noel in Buckingham Palace’s quadrangle.