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The royal family in 2023: The year’s major stories

The King has delivered his Christmas message after joining other members of the royal family at Sandringham to celebrate Christmas Day.

The festive address – the second of Charles’s reign since the death of his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, in September 2022 – was delivered at 3pm on Monday in Buckingham Palace’s Centre Room, which opens onto the famous balcony overlooking The Mall and was decorated with a living Christmas tree that will be replanted.

The King called on people to protect each other, delivered a powerful message about the environment and praised volunteers serving communities across the country.

Earlier, Charles and Camilla were joined by the Prince and Princess of Wales and their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis for morning service at St Mary Magdalene Church.

It comes after the King and Queen waved to well-wishers while attending a Christmas Eve service at the church on Sunday.

Royal Christmases traditionally feature the greeting of people outside the church, and a family lunch with turkey and all the trimmings.

Sandringham House has been the private home of four generations of British monarchs for more than 160 years, and now belongs to the King.


Watch in full: Charles delivers 2023 King’s Speech from Buckingham Palace

Watch in full: Charles delivers 2023 King’s Speech from Buckingham Palace

Andy Gregory26 December 2023 12:05


King’s Speech broadcast opened with brass rendition of national anthem

The annual broadcast, produced this year by ITN, began with military musicians from the Household Division brass ensemble playing the national anthem from a balcony overlooking Buckingham Palace’s quadrangle, and ended with the Bexley Music Primary Choir performing the carol “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks”.

Highlights from the royal year were screened, showing the King and Queen, the Princess Royal, and the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh attending events.

Footage of William and Kate and their children arriving for the princess’s Westminster Abbey carol concert was also shown, and the film ended with Charles’s final coronation day appearance on the palace balcony.

Tara Cobham26 December 2023 11:21


King Charles was author of Christmas broadcast

The Christmas broadcast was written by the King and had a strong Christian element, a reflection of the head of state who described himself as a “committed Anglican Christian” during a reception for faith leaders after the death of Queen Elizabeth.

For the second successive year, the King recognised other faiths, describing how the “great religions of the world” celebrate festivals with a special meal and how it is the responsibility of “people of all faiths and of none” to care for the natural world.

Andy Gregory26 December 2023 10:33


Watch: King Charles urges public to protect environment in Christmas message

King Charles urges public to protect environment in Christmas message

Andy Gregory26 December 2023 09:42


King Charles praises ‘selfless army of volunteers’

King Charles, who launched his Coronation Food Project in November to support charities feeding the disadvantaged with unwanted produce, said: “We need to build on existing ways to support others less fortunate than ourselves.”

Against the backdrop of the Queen Victoria Memorial, Charles said: “Over this past year, my heart has been warmed by countless examples of the imaginative ways in which people are caring for one another – going the extra mile to help those around them simply because they know it is the right thing to do: at work and at home; within and across communities.

“My wife and I were delighted when hundreds of representatives of that selfless army of people – volunteers who serve their communities in so many ways and with such distinction – were able to join us in Westminster Abbey for the coronation earlier this year. They are an essential backbone of our society.”

Tara Cobham26 December 2023 08:51


Full report: King Charles offers message of hope amid ‘increasingly tragic conflict around world’

The King has called on people to “protect each other” as he said in his Christmas broadcast that the world is living through a time of increasingly tragic conflict.

Charles delivered his festive address – the second of his reign following the death of his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth II, in September 2022 – standing up in Buckingham Palace’s Centre Room, which opens onto the famous balcony overlooking The Mall.

My colleague Tara Cobham has the full report:

Andy Gregory26 December 2023 07:55


King Charles makes major departure from Queen in his Christmas speech

King Charles delivered the second Christmas address of his reign as monarch and it was noteworthy for what it included as well as what – and who – it left out, Maira Butt reports.

While his mother Queen Elizabeth II traditionally opted for a family-centred speech with images of her children and relatives in the backdrop, the King’s speech left out any mention of his loved ones at all.

However, a brief glance of Prince William and Kate were seen.

Alexander Butler26 December 2023 07:01


Royal family attend Christmas Day service at Sandringham

The royal family marked Christmas Day by attending the traditional festive church service on the King’s Sandringham estate.

Royal fans gathered as the Prince and Princess of Wales walked hand in hand with their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis from Sandringham house on their way to St Mary Magdalene Church.

They walked behind the King and Queen, who were greeted by about a thousand local residents, many of whom had waited hours on Christmas morning to catch a glimpse of the family.

Alexander Butler26 December 2023 04:00


How King Charles and Queen Camilla are spending their Christmas at Sandringham

Most families have their own beloved Christmas traditions. Perhaps it’s playing a never-ending game of Monopoly, wearing your pyjamas all day or falling asleep to the murmur of the EastEnders Christmas Special. Whatever your tradition – the royal family has some of its own grander traditions, too, Ellie Muir reports.

Royal Christmases are alive with tradition and routine: a morning church visit, a roast turkey banquet, walking the Sandringham grounds, and opening presents with a little nod to their German roots.

Queen Elizabeth II famously hosted every Christmas at the family’s country estate in Norfolk since 1998 – and her son King Charles will likely continue the tradition in his first official year as King following his coronation in May.

Alexander Butler26 December 2023 02:01


How Harry and Meghan will spend Christmas this year

Despite murmurings of a possible reconciliation at Sandringham, it appears that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will not be joining the royal family for their annual Christmas celebrations in Norfolk after all, Maanya Sachdeva reports.

The late Queen Elizabeth II hosted every Christmas at the royal estate since 1998, with her son King Charles III expected to continue the same tradition in his first official year as monarch since the coronation in May.

Last month, it was reported the couple would not turn down an invite to spend Christmas at Sandringham if they were asked, amid rumours that a reunion between Harry and Charles could be on the horizon.

Alexander Butler26 December 2023 00:01

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