Photo released of Queen in first Christmas Day message since death of Prince Philip

UK

The Queen is expected to deliver a particularly personal Christmas Day message as she prepares for her first festive period since the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

Buckingham Palace has released a photograph of the monarch taken during the recording of her annual festive address, filmed last week, showing her sitting behind a desk in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle.

On the desk is a single photograph of her and Prince Philip taken in 2007 at Broadlands, once the home of Philip’s uncle Lord Mountbatten, and where they spent part of their honeymoon.

EMBARGOED TO 2230 GMT Thursday December 23, 2021. File photo dated 23/11/1947 of Princess Elizabeth enjoying a stroll with her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, at Broadlands, Hampshire, during their first public appearance since their wedding. In her Christmas broadcast, The Queen is seen wearing the same chrysanthemum brooch, which she also wore in photographs taken at the same venue to mark their Diamond Wedding Anniversary in 2007. Issue date: Thursday December 23, 2021.
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The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, wore the sapphire brooch on her honeymoon in 1947

The photo was taken to mark their diamond wedding anniversary and recreated a picture taken on their honeymoon in 1947.

The Queen, dressed in bright red, is also wearing the same sapphire chrysanthemum brooch that she wore in both photographs.

Prince Philip’s life in pictures

The palace never release details of what the monarch is going to say ahead of Christmas Day, but the theme and words are always carefully chosen by the Queen herself, with assistance from her private secretaries.

More on Prince Philip

Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh walk at Broadlands in Romsey, southern England in this undated photograph taken in 2007. The Queen and Prince Philip will mark their diamond wedding anniversary with a special service of thanksgiving on November 19, 2007. REUTERS/Fiona Hanson/Pool (BRITAIN - Tags: SOCIETY ROYALS)
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Her Majesty also wore the brooch when celebrating her diamond wedding anniversary in 2007

This was always going to be a poignant Christmas for Her Majesty, being the first without her husband.

The Duke of Edinburgh died in April at the age of 99. The couple had been married for 73 years.

In a statement announcing his death, the Queen described him as her “beloved husband”.

Since April she has paid tribute to him during speeches at the Scottish opening of parliament and in a video message played for world leaders at the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow.

In the new photograph, the 95-year-old monarch does look thinner than in recent months.

But it’s understood that she is on good form and has continued to carry out light duties after doctors advised her to rest at the end of October.

Pic: AP
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II sits alone in St. George's Chapel during the funeral of Prince Philip, the man who had been by her side for 73 years, at Windsor Castle, Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. Prince Philip died April 9 at the age of 99 after 73 years of marriage to Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. (Jonathan Brady/Pool via AP)
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The Queen sat alone at the funeral of her husband Prince Philip due to COVID rules

On Monday, the palace confirmed that the Queen would not be making her annual trip to Sandringham this Christmas and instead would be staying at Windsor.

It’s understood it was a personal decision and made by the Queen after careful consideration.

It’s the second year that she has stayed at Windsor. Last year she was with Prince Philip and some members of staff.

It was confirmed on Thursday that the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will be with the Queen on Christmas Day.

It’s unclear if other members of the family will also join them. Prince Andrew and his family live on the Windsor estate and Prince Edward and his family live nearby.

Princess Anne is currently isolating after her husband Tim Laurence tested positive for COVID.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be spending Christmas in Norfolk with some of Kate’s family.

• You can watch the Queen’s address to the nation on Sky News at 3pm on Christmas Day.

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