In her annual Christmas speech, Queen Elizabeth II will acknowledge that both Britain and her family have had a “bumpy” time this year.
Released excerpts of the Queen’s speech, which was pre-recorded and will be broadcast on Christmas Day, nod to the difficulties of 2019. It was recorded before the monarch’s husband, Prince Philip, was hospitalized in London on Dec. 20 as a precautionary measure.
Buckingham Palace released the clips on Christmas Eve. The Queen’s speech reflects on the past year and shares wishes for the year ahead.
“The path, of course, is not always smooth and may, at times this year, have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference,” the Queen said while talking about the need for reconciliation and forgiveness.
She is thought to be referring both to Britain’s tortuous path out of the European Union, which led to a lengthy political stalemate broken only earlier this month when voters gave the pro-Brexit Conservative Party a comfortable majority in Parliament, and to the Royal Family’s setbacks.
This year has no doubt been challenging for the Royal Family.
The Queen’s second son, Prince Andrew, stepped down from his royal duties after a disastrous BBC interview in which he defended his friendship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and denied having sex with a woman named Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
Giuffre says she was trafficked by Epstein and forced to have sex with the prince in 2001 when she was only 17. Prince Andrew denies these allegations.
The Duke of Sussex is celebrating Christmas with wife Meghan Markle and son Archie in Canada this year rather than spending the holidays at the Queen’s Sandringham Estate — a long-standing royal tradition.
Kensington Palace also released a photo from the Queen’s speech on Instagram. In the picture, Queen Elizabeth II is sitting at a desk with framed photos around her.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex released their own Christmas card on Monday, featuring a seven-month-old Archie up close to the camera.
— With files from the Associated Press