King’s first Christmas speech hits exactly the right tone

King Charles III is seen during the recording of his first Christmas broadcast (Image: Victoria Jones-Pool/Getty Images)

On Sunday, King Charles became the second British monarch in history to deliver a televised Christmas message, following in the footsteps of his late mother Queen Elizabeth who appeared in the first televised broadcast in 1957.

His great-grandfather King George V was the first monarch to deliver a Christmas speech via radio in 1932, followed by his grandfather King George VI in 1937.

For a nation still mourning their late Queen Elizabeth and missing her familiar reassuring words of kindness on Christmas Day, the British people waited with bated breath as to how King Charles would fair in taking on the important Christmas address.

King Charles needn’t have worried as his speech was delivered to perfection with the familiar tones of empathy and reassurance the nation was hoping for.

The King’s address was filmed at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, which the King noted was “so close to where my beloved mother, the late Queen, is laid to rest with my dear father”.

In the festive broadcast, the King also showed solidarity with those struggling to pay their bills amid cost of living crisis. Charles also urged the public to find hope at a time of “great anxiety and hardship.”

He said he recognised the difficulties experienced by those struggling to “pay their bills and keep their families fed and warm” during the cost of living crisis, and warmly praised those who “readily respond to the plight of others”.

NHS staff, teachers and public sector workers were singled out for recognition, at a time of widespread industrial action over pay.

The King also used the message to highlight his personal commitment to the other religious faiths of a diverse Britain, and said that “whatever faith you have, or whether you have none… I believe we can find hope for the future.”

King Charles also thanked members of the public for their “deeply touching” messages and cards of condolence to his whole family in the wake of his mother’s death on Sept 8.

“Christmas is a particularly poignant time for all of us who have lost loved ones,” he said.

“We feel their absence at every familiar turn of the season and remember them in each cherished tradition.”

In a nod to the late Queen’s legacy, he added: “My mother’s belief in the power of that light was an essential part of her faith in God, but also her faith in people – and it is one which I share with my whole heart.

“It is a belief in the extraordinary ability of each person to touch, with goodness and compassion, the lives of others, and to shine a light in the world around them. This is the essence of our community and the very foundation of our society.”

Such qualities, he said, were reflected in the “selfless dedication” of the Armed Forces and emergency services who “work tirelessly to keep us all safe, and who performed so magnificently as we mourned the passing of our late Queen”.

The King also acknowledged the global ongoing economic crisis and war in Ukraine saying: “And at this time of great anxiety and hardship – be it for those around the world facing conflict, famine or natural disaster, or for those at home finding ways to pay their bills and keep their families fed and warm – we see it in the humanity of people throughout our nations and the Commonwealth who so readily respond to the plight of others.”

He paid tribute to the “wonderfully kind people” who donate food “or that most precious commodity of all – their time” to support those in greatest need, praising the “extraordinary work” of volunteers and charities.

The King himself has opted to send public donations received following the death of the Queen to a fuel poverty charity and even sent a personal donation to the Fuel Bank Foundation.

The King ended his broadcast with a focus on his own faith as he spoke about fulfilling a “life-long wish” to visit Bethlehem in 2020 and stand close to the sacred site in the Church of the Nativity.

He said: “It meant more to me than I can possibly express to stand on that spot where, as the Bible tells us, ‘the light that has come into the world was born.

“While Christmas is, of course, a Christian celebration, the power of light overcoming darkness is celebrated across the boundaries of faith and belief.

“So, whatever faith you have, or whether you have none, it is in this life-giving light, and with the true humility that lies in our service to others, that I believe we can find hope for the future.

“Let us therefore celebrate it together, and cherish it always.”


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