Queen to refer to a ‘bumpy path’ during her Christmas Day message

Queen Elizabeth II records her annual Christmas broadcast in Windsor Castle, Berkshire
Queen Elizabeth II records her annual Christmas broadcast in Windsor Castle, Berkshire
Share this article

The Queen will acknowledge the “bumpy” path the royal family and the nation has experienced over the past 12 months in her Christmas Day message.

During 2019, the Duke of Edinburgh was involved in a dramatic car accident, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex spoke about their struggles living in the public eye and the Duke of York gave a disastrous television interview about his friendship with a convicted sex offender.

The toxic mood of the public debate around Brexit has continued throughout the past 12 months, with the issue bitterly dividing the country and parliament, leading to uncertainty.

But the Queen will comment on how “small steps taken in faith and in hope” can be significant, and ultimately break down “long-held differences”.

The head of state will also highlight the 75th anniversary of the Second World War D-Day landings, and how former “sworn enemies” joined together in friendly commemorations to mark the milestone in 2019.

In her Christmas Day broadcast to the nation and the Commonwealth, the Queen, speaking about the life of Jesus and the importance of reconciliation, will say: “...how small steps taken in faith and in hope can overcome long-held differences and deep-seated divisions to bring harmony and understanding...

“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’s comment is thought to be her first public reference to the personal events her family has experienced this year.

Commentators may interpret the Queen’s words as indicating the past year may be one she would rather forget, like 1992 which she dubbed her “annus horribilis” after the marriages of three of her children collapsed.

In that year the Princess Royal divorced, the Duke and Duchess of York separated as did the Prince and Princess of Wales, and Windsor Castle went up in flames.

During the past 12 months, the most significant and damaging event for the monarchy was Andrew’s appearance on the BBC’s Newsnight programme which has left his reputation in tatters.

His attempt to explain his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein backfired and he was heavily criticised for showing a lack of empathy towards Epstein’s victims and little remorse over his friendship with the disgraced financier.

In the interview, the duke denied claims he slept with Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims, on three separate occasions.

Andrew has stepped down from royal duties for the foreseeable future, and some commentators have suggested he may have effectively retired from public life, especially after a large number of his patronages accepted his resignation.

Concerns have been voiced by royal watchers about Harry and Meghan who have based themselves in Canada during an extended festive break.