Pledged to strict political neutrality and a certain level of restraint, Queen Elizabeth II nonetheless distilled some rare confidences over the course of her life, most notably about her family, particularly during her traditional Christmas speeches.
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– Christmas Message 1956. The family is separated at Christmas as Philip is on a tour of Commonwealth countries.
“My husband’s absence at this time has made me even more aware of how fortunate I am to be part of a united family.”
– Christmas message 1972. This year the Queen and Prince Philip celebrated 25 years of marriage.
“No marriage can succeed without striving for tolerance and understanding”.
– 20 March 2012, speech to Parliament on the occasion of his Diamond Jubilee (60 years of reign).
“Throughout all these years he has been a constant force and leader.”
– Christmas message 2017, year celebrating the platinum wedding anniversary (70 years of marriage) of Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
“I don’t know if the term + platinum + for a 70th wedding anniversary had already been invented when I was born. We didn’t expect to be alive that long.”
– Message for Christmas 2013, the year of the birth of Prince George, Prince William and Kate’s first child, on July 22nd.
“My family is a little bigger this Christmas. As many of you know, the birth of a baby gives everyone a chance to face the future with renewed joy and hope.”
– Christmas Message 2018. The Queen’s two grandchildren were married in 2018: Prince Harry to Meghan Markle in May and Princess Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank in October. Prince Louis, Prince William and Kate’s third child, was born in April and Lena Tindall, daughter of Zara and Mike Tindall, in June.
“It’s been a busy year for my family, with two weddings and two babies – and one more to be expected soon. It helps to keep a grandmother busy.”
– November 24, 1992, Speech marking the 40th anniversary of his accession to the throne. In 1992, three of their four children separated or divorced, and a fire destroyed Windsor Castle.
“1992 is not a year I look back on fondly. (…) It was an ‘Annus Horribilis’”.
– Televised address, September 5, 1997, a few days after Lady Di’s tragic death in a car crash in Paris.
“Expressing a sense of loss is not easy, as the initial shock is often replaced by a mix of other feelings: disbelief, misunderstanding, anger – and concern for those left behind. We’ve all felt those emotions over the past few days.”
– Communique, April 8, 2002, following the Queen Mother’s death on March 30.
“Over the years I have met many people who have lost a family member, sometimes in extremely tragic circumstances. So I consider myself lucky that my mother was able to lead a long and happy life.