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Royal Christmas

A first without Prince Philip: The details you may have missed in the Queen's 2021 Christmas broadcast

The annual tradition was tinged with sadness this year.

By Alex Lilly
Every year since 1957, the Queen has made a Christmas Day broadcast to Britain and the Commonwealth reflecting on the year that was.
Whilst this marked her second in a COVID-19 world, it was personally a heartbreaking one for Her Majesty as her beloved husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, passed away in April, aged 99.
To begin, the speech showed archive footage of the Duke of Edinburgh as well as the Queen's famous 1997 quote when she said of her husband: "He is someone who doesn't take easily to compliments but he has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years, and I, and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know."
In her speech, the Queen, who celebrated Christmas at Windsor Castle, spoke of her "beloved Philip".
Dressed in festive red accessorised with her sapphire chrysanthemum brooch, there were some subtle nods to her late husband.
Though Her Majesty owns many glittering brooches, this is the same one she wore in her and Philip's official honeymoon photo as well as for a portrait recreating the pose to mark their diamond wedding anniversary in 2017.
The latter was the only portrait on her desk this year, a sweet reminder of the couple's everlasting love.
Keeping Prince Philip close: The Queen's 2021 speech was filmed in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle. (Buckingham Palace)
"Although it's a time of great happiness and good cheer for many, Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones. This year, especially, I understand why," the Queen said.
"But for me, in the months since the death of my beloved Philip, I have drawn great comfort from the warmth and affection of the many tributes to his life and work – from around the country, the Commonwealth and the world.
"His sense of service, intellectual curiosity and capacity to squeeze fun out of any situation – were all irrepressible. That mischievous, enquiring twinkle was as bright at the end as when I first set eyes on him.
"But life, of course, consists of final partings as well as first meetings – and as much as I and my family miss him, I know he would want us to enjoy Christmas."
Her Majesty also addressed the COVID-19 crisis and how it's meant that Christmas couldn't be celebrated as normal but reflected on how the festive season is a time of hope and joy.
She also mentioned her four new great-grandchildren who were born this year - August Brooksbank, Lucas Tindall, Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor and Sienna Mapelli Mozzi.
"And for me and my family, even with one familiar laugh missing this year, there will be joy in Christmas, as we have the chance to reminisce, and see anew the wonder of the festive season through the eyes of our young children, of whom we were delighted to welcome four more this year."
WATCH BELOW: The Queen's 2021 Christmas speech. Post continues after video...
Due to the Omicron variant sweeping the UK, the Queen has spent a second Christmas in a row at Windsor Castle.
Traditionally, she and her family stay at her Sandringham estate in Norfolk and attend the morning service at St Mary Magdalene's church.
What's more, the family then tuck into a 50-minute lunch, before gathering around the TV to watch the Queen's pre-recorded Christmas message at 3pm on the dot.
In 2020, the Queen made her Christmas broadcast from Windsor Castle. (BBC)
Last year marked the first time the Queen spent Christmas at Windsor Castle in 33 years.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, she and Prince Philip spent the festive season in 2020 alone but the monarch reflected on the "quiet, indomitable spirit" of people around the world.
"Remarkably, a year that has necessarily kept people apart has, in many ways, brought us closer," she mused in last year's broadcast.

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