Lorraine: Russell Myers discusses King Charles' Christmas speech
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King Charles provided a glimpse of how his first-ever Christmas broadcast will be in September, a royal commentator said. Charles delivered his first address to the nation as the sovereign on September 9, the day after the death of Queen Elizabeth II. During that speech, the monarch seemingly took a leaf out of the late Queen’s book, placing a portrait on his desk and delivering a measured and poignant speech. He also decided to pay tribute to a number of family members very close to him.
Royal expert and broadcaster Jonathan Sacerdoti believes the September speech could serve as the blueprint for Charles’s upcoming Christmas message.
The broadcast, recorded earlier this month but traditionally aired on Christmas Day afternoon, will also likely be measured by many royal watchers against those delivered by the Queen throughout the decades, Mr Sacerdoti added.
He told Express.co.uk: “I think the King’s Christmas speech will be very interesting to watch, because it will be his first.
“The Queen really, like everything she did in her line of duty, made everything her own, because she is the only monarch that nearly anybody ever knew or could remember, thus everything he does will always inevitably be measured against how she would have done it or did do it.
“That said we have already seen him give a similar style broadcast after his mother died and he addressed the nation directly in a televised speech.
“And I think that could also give a clue about how he could tackle family issues.”
In his first speech, the monarch didn’t shy away from naming members of his family and praising those closer to the throne.
After he acknowledged his life would change alongside with his new role, he confirmed Camilla would take up the title of Queen Consort and Prince William that of Prince of Wales.
Speaking about his children and their wives, Charles then said: “With Catherine beside him, our new Prince and Princess of Wales will, I know, continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the centre ground where vital help can be given.
“I want also to express my love for Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas.”
Mr Sacerdoti believes the monarch may once again mention members of his family in his upcoming speech.
He said: “I think that the King will almost likely mention his family and specific members of his family in terms of his feelings towards them where they are working royals.
“In this case, he may comment on their work as he did in that address after the Queen died, where he mentioned William more than he mentioned Harry, which I think is reasonable as the Duke chose to leave the working family and indeed the country, so that was respectful of his wishes in that respect.”
Mr Sacerdoti went on to note Elizabeth II would send subtle messages via the portraits displayed on her desk while delivering speeches.
The commentator said: “The Queen did occasionally mention her family in her speeches, often there would also be cryptic messages in the form of whose photos were in shot on the desk beside her.”
This year, however, the King appears to have broken with that tradition.
An image from the upcoming Christmas broadcast released yesterday evening by Buckingham Palace shows Charles standing at St George’s Chapel, on the grounds of Windsor Castle, rather than sitting behind a desk at one of his residences.
The King, however, had followed the blueprint set by his mother in his first speech as monarch on September 9, when Charles poignantly displayed only one portrait on his desk – one of his late mother smiling.
The portraits shown by the sovereign have often been a topic of discussion for commentators and royal fans.
This was particularly true following the speech delivered in 2019, when the decision not to display a picture of Meghan and Prince Harry on Elizabeth II’s desk as she delivered her Christmas broadcast was seen by many as either a snub to the Sussexes – who a few months prior had welcomed their first son – or a way to highlight the direct line of succession to the throne.
Royal authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand alleged in their flattering but unauthorised biography of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex Finding Freedom Meghan and Harry themselves were left upset by the absence of their picture on the Queen’s desk in 2019.
The pair wrote in their book, first published in August 2020: “Harry felt as though he and Meghan had long been sidelined by the institution and were not a fundamental part of its future.
“One didn’t have to look further than the family photos displayed during the Queen’s Speech on Christmas Day.
“In the Green Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, where the Queen delivered her address, viewers glimpsed photos of the Cambridges and their children, Charles and Camilla, Prince Philip, and a black-and-white image of the sovereign’s father, King George VI. Noticeably absent was a photo of Harry, Meghan, and their new baby, Archie.
“Palace sources insisted that the photos were chosen to represent the direct line of succession, but for Harry and Meghan, it was yet another sign that they needed consider their own path.”
Mr Scobie and Ms Durand also reported in their book first published in August 2020 a source claiming the now King Charles had “always included” his second son and his wife in his vision of the monarchy he would eventually lead and protect.
During the 2019 Christmas broadcast, Meghan, Harry and Archie were still featured, as a photograph of the Queen and Prince Philip during their first meeting with Archie was displayed on screen while the late sovereign was speaking.
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