Queen’s speech 'expected to be particularly personal' in year of Duke of Edinburgh's death

The Queen always delivers the message alone, but this year her husband's absence will be keenly felt, as ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship reports

The Queen's Christmas Day message is expected to be a particularly personal one this year, as the monarch prepares to spend her first festive period since the death of her husband Duke of Edinburgh.

A photograph released by Buckingham Palace ahead of her televised address to the nation shows the Queen sat behind a desk in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle.

In front of her is a single, framed picture of the Queen and Prince Philip taken in 2007 at the Broadlands in Hampshire, to mark their Diamond Wedding Anniversary.

The photograph was designed to replicate one they had taken in November 1947 on the same Broadlands estate where they spent their honeymoon.

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The new image of the Queen shows her wearing a “Christmas red” dress by her designer and confidante Angela Kelly.

She also has the same sapphire chrysanthemum brooch which she wore in both the photo of the honeymoon and the Diamond Wedding anniversary.

The 95-year-old Monarch will deliver the message as usual at 3pm on Christmas Day – which will be the first Christmas she has spent without her beloved husband.

The Duke of Edinburgh died in April at the age of 99.

The Queen and Prince Philip in 2007 at the Broadlands in Hampshire. Credit: PA
Princess Elizabeth enjoying a stroll with her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, on the Broadlands estate in November 1947. Credit: PA

Covid restrictions at the time meant the Queen was memorably and poignantly forced to sit alone in St George’s Chapel for his funeral service.The Queen is expected to be joined at Windsor Castle on Christmas Day by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, having chosen to shelve her much cherished family Christmas at Sandringham as a “precautionary” measure amid rising coronavirus cases.

Queen takes her seat for the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh in St George's Chapel. Credit: PA

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be in Norfolk at their home at Anmer Hall on the Sandringham estate with members of Kate’s family, the Middletons.

It would be highly unusual for the Queen to make such a personal address on Christmas Day – but it’s thought she was determined to pay her fullest tribute to her late husband.

The Queen used her 2020 Christmas broadcast to deliver a heartfelt message of hope to the country, praising the “indomitable spirit” of those who had risen “magnificently” to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Queen's address to the nation will be broadcast on ITV at 3pm on Christmas Day.