The Queen's admission of a 'bumpy' 2019 for the Royal Family in Christmas Day message

The Queen will acknowledge the difficult year the Royal Family has just been through in her traditional Christmas broadcast on Wednesday.

She has described 2019 as "quite bumpy".

It’s her usual understated way of referring to serious events which have included her son, Prince Andrew, being forced to step back from royal duties over his previous friendship with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

But the "bumpy" reference also refers to other issues within the Royal Household including Prince Philip’s car crash in January and Harry and Meghan’s admission that they are finding life in the spotlight very challenging.

Harry also told ITV in the Tom Bradby documentary in October that his relationship with his brother William, is less close than it was.

The television broadcast was recorded before Prince Philip was admitted to hospital at the end of last week.

The duke spent three nights in hospital immediately before Christmas. Credit: PA

But that episode will also add to the bumpy road to which the Queen refers.

Prince Philip himself was criticised for showing a tin ear to concerns about his driving, at his age then of 97, after the crash in Sandringham with another car, which had a baby in the back seat.

It is unusual for the Queen to refer to her own family’s troubles in a Christmas message and there was speculation that she might chose to repeat the Latin phrase she famously used in 1992 when she described the year an "annus horribilis".

In the end she opted for "bumpy".

And that, according to her courtiers, can also be used to describe the political paralysis and the acrimonious general election campaign brought about by divisions in the country over Brexit.

The word "bumpy" came in a sentence about the life of Jesus and the importance of reconciliation.

She clearly feels there is a need for the country to reconcile and heal divisions and much as her family must.

Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George bake festive treats. Credit: PA

The Queen said: "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."

She is clearly hoping that, after the election, the country can find a way to take "small step" to overcome differences.

She says that "small steps taken in faith and in hope can overcome long-held differences and deep-seated divisions to bring harmony and understanding".

The traditional televised message is broadcast at 3 o’clock on Christmas Day afternoon.

She also remarks on the significance of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

She has a photograph of her father next to her from 1944 when King George VI sent a message of hope and reassurance to the country just before the historic invasion of Nazi-occupied France.

The Queen, now 93-years-old, uses the same theme of reconciliation to highlight how once "sworn enemies" came together in the summer to mark the occasion.

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, joined the Queen and the political leaders of the USA, the UK and France at the D-Day event in Portsmouth.

She said: "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.

Only by putting "past differences behind us", the Queen said, do we “honour the freedom and democracy once won for us at so great a cost".

Harry, Meghan and Archie will spend Christmas with Duchess of Sussex's mother, not the Queen. Credit: PA

Her words about D-Day could equally apply to the healing process needed in the UK and Europe over Brexit.

On the table in front of The Queen, she has a photograph of Prince Charles and Camilla taken in Wales in the summer to mark the 50th anniversary of his investiture as the Prince of Wales in 1969.

She also has the photograph on the front of the Cambridges’ Christmas card, showing William, Kate, George, Charlotte and Louis.

Other pictures include one of her private photographs of the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen with the Apollo 11 astronauts at Buckingham Palace in 1970.

There is no photograph of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

The televised message was recorded in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle last week.