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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Kate Ng

What will King Charles talk about in his first Christmas speech?

Getty Images

King Charles III is set to make his very first Christmas speech this year, after ascending the throne following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

It has been a year of major change not just for the new monarch, but also for the UK and the rest of the world. For the first time in 70 years, the face Britons see on TV on Christmas day will not be that of the Queen, who has given a speech every year throughout her reign, except in 1969.

Charles took his place on the throne on 8 September, the same day his mother died in Balmoral Castle. There is no doubt that his speech will reflect on this monumental change in the royal family’s landscape. His address comes at a significant moment – the 90th anniversary of the very first Christmas message, which was made in 1932 by his great-grandfather, King George V.

The late Queen often used her speeches as an opportunity to review past 12 months, both on a national and personal level. Last year, she gave a deeply personal message, sharing her grief over the death of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh. Prince Philip died in April 2021 at the age of 99.

It is expected that Charles will follow his mother’s example, and likely pay tribute to her in the process. He may also place a photograph of the Queen on the desk he will sit behind as he delivers his message, which would save him from any ensuing speculation about any other members of the royal family, were he to use a different photograph.

Many people will be keeping a close ear out for any mention of King Chales’s son and daughter-in-law, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who recently released their six-part documentary series, Harry and Meghan.

The King made a heartfelt mention of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in his first speech as monarch, expressing his love for them “as they continue to build their lives overseas”. Since the Christmas speech was reportedly written before the last three episodes of the series were released, there is potential that Charles could make a gesture of goodwill to the couple once again.

However, it is not expected that he will acknowledge the series in any way during his speech. According to royal expert Katie Nicholl, senior palace aides confirmed that Buckingham Palace will not be commenting on Harry and Meghan, and that Charles and the Queen Consort did not watch the series.

The only statement that the palace has made about the tell-all documentary was to push back on a claim made at the beginning of the first episode, which said that “members of the royal family declined to comment on the content within this series”.


A senior palace source said that Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and members of the family were not approached for comment. While Charles is highly unlikely to make any comment about the series, one royal expert suggested that he would do well to make a “loving mention” of the Sussexes in his address.

Jo Elvin, journalist and host of podcast Palace Confidential, previously told The Independent: “However varied recollections may be in the family, I think finding a way to heal Harry and Meghan’s pain should be a priority, because it seems that otherwise they’ll never run out of the energy to complain and explain. A loving mention in his first Christmas address would be a dignified power move.”

(Getty Images)

While it is unknown whether the King will make a nod to his youngest son, some experts believe that the Prince of Wales will get a special mention due to his environmental campaigning in the form of this year’s Earthshot Prize.

It comes after Charles passed down his title, which he has held since 1969, to his eldest son and heir, and granted Kate Middleton the title of the Princess of Wales. The latter title is, of course, famously associated with Diana, William and Harry’s late mother. It marks yet another big change for both the royal family and the British public.

There are many other global and national events that the King could mention as part of his speech – not least the war in Ukraine and the cost of living crisis facing Britons today. But no matter what he chooses to say, Charles’ Christmas speech will be one for the history books.

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