Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II will acknowledge that the last 12 months have felt “quite bumpy” in her Christmas Day broadcast.
The 93-year-old monarch will refer to the life of Jesus and the importance of reconciliation in her pre-recorded message, saying “small steps taken in faith and in hope can overcome long-held differences and deep-seated divisions to bring harmony and understanding.”
She will add: “The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference.”
The Queen did not specify whether she was referring to the political turmoil over Brexit that dominated 2019 in the UK, or whether she was thinking of personal events involving her own family, or both.
Her husband, Prince Philip, was discharged from a London hospital after a four-night stay for an undisclosed condition on Tuesday morning. The Duke of Edinburgh had been admitted to King Edward VII’s hospital for “observation and treatment” on the advice of his doctor.
Earlier this year, Philip was involved in a car crash near the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk. While the duke emerged unharmed, the other driver involved in the collision suffered cuts to her knee and a passenger sustained a broken wrist. In the wake of the accident, Philip, then-97, gave up his driving license.
The duke was not the only senior British royal to make headlines this year. In September, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex opened up about the struggles the couple have faced under intense media scrutiny while on tour in southern Africa.
Then last month, Prince Andrew – the Queen’s second son – announced he was stepping back from public duties following a widely-criticized interview about his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. The disgraced financier died by apparent suicide in August.
The Queen’s annual Christmas message – which will be broadcast on Wednesday at 3 p.m. (10 a.m. ET) – was filmed in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle.
Seated behind a desk in a royal blue cashmere dress designed by Angela Kelly, the Queen will address the nation surrounded by a selection of photographs of her family including a photograph of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla marking the 50th anniversary of his investiture as Prince of Wales, a family portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their three children George, Charlotte and Louis, a photograph of the Duke of Edinburgh from her private collection as well as a black and white photograph of her father, King George VI, in 1944.
The Queen will also be wearing the Prince Albert brooch. It was given to Queen Victoria by Prince Albert in 1840, the day before their wedding and was worn on their wedding day. It is a sapphire and diamond brooch, set in gold.
The Queen will also use her Christmas Day message to highlight the 75th anniversary of D-Day landings.
“For the 75th anniversary of that decisive battle, in a true spirit of reconciliation, those who had formerly been sworn enemies came together in friendly commemorations either side of the channel, putting past differences behind them,” she will say.
“By being willing to put past differences behind us and move forward together, we honor the freedom and democracy once won for us at so great a cost.”
In June, the Queen paid tribute on behalf of “the whole free world” to those who died during the Normandy landings in Portsmouth, southern England with world leaders US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron in attendance.