When was the last time we had a King’s Speech instead of a Queen’s Speech on Christmas Day?

Queen Elizabeth the second

Queen Elizabeth II gave a speech on Christmas Day every year (Image: Getty)

King Charles III will deliver his first Christmas Day speech this year following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II.

The King is expected to use the speech to reflect on the late Queen, who died on September 8, 2022 at the age of 96.

It will be strange for many of us to see King Charles on our screens on December 25, as we have become accustomed to hearing the Queen’s message on Christmas Day over the last 70 years.

But when was the last time we had a King’s Speech instead of a Queen’s Speech on Christmas Day?

let’s find out

When was the last time we had a King’s speech on Christmas Day?

King George VI

King George VI was the last male monarch to give a speech on Christmas Day (Image: Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

The last time the UK gave a royal speech on Christmas Day was 1951 and it was delivered by King Charles’ grandfather, King George VI.

In the speech, King George says he has recovered from his illness but that his daughter (then) Princess Elizabeth must take his place on the Commonwealth Tour.

King George died just over a month after the speech was broadcast on February 6, 1952, at the age of 56, having failed to recover from lung surgery.

His daughter, who was on the Commonwealth tour at the time, became Queen immediately and we have had a Queen’s speech on Christmas Day ever since.

King George VI’s Last Christmas Message was pre-recorded as he had recently undergone surgery. However, unlike today, the speech on Christmas Day was generally broadcast live until the 1960s.

When was the first king’s speech?

The tradition of the Christmas Day speech dates back to 1932 and was the brainchild of the BBC’s founding director, John Reith.

Reith first approached King George V in 1922 and asked him to deliver a Christmas message over the newly created radio service.

The King declined, believing radio was for entertainment only, but accepted the idea when asked again 10 years later after being encouraged to do so by his wife Queen Mary and Prime Minister Ramsay McDonald.

King George V’s first Christmas speech was written by Rudyard Kipling, best known for the classic novel The Jungle Book.

The Christmas message continued to be broadcast on radio until 1957, when Queen Elizabeth II delivered the first televised speech.

The late Queen was known to write most of her speeches herself, often with the help of her husband, Prince Phillip, until his death in 2021.

In her final speech last year, Queen Elizabeth reflected on the life of her “beloved” Phillip.

This year’s speech will mark the first time a male monarch has given a televised address.

MORE : Inside Sandringham – the home of the Royal Family Christmas

MORE : When is King Charles’ first speech on Christmas Day and how to watch it?

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Justin Scacco

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