King Charles will make history as the first male UK monarch to deliver a Christmas address on television. His mother, Queen Elizabeth II gave the first televised Royal Christmas Message in 1957, and her predecessors, George V and George VI, delivered all of their Christmas speeches over the radio. Edward VIII did not deliver a Christmas speech as his reign lasted less than a year.
Charles recorded his message earlier this month and it will be broadcast to the nation and other commonwealth countries on Christmas Day. Charles ascended to the throne on the day of his mother’s death, 8 September, and will be coronated on 6 May next year. He is expected to pay tribute to his mother, who delivered 69 Christmas messages over her reign.
What time is The King’s Speech 2022?
The King’s Speech is set to be broadcast at 3pm on Christmas Day, Sunday 25 December. Previous speeches have generally lasted around 10 minutes and it is expected that this year’s speech will be a similar length. The King’s Speech will be broadcast on BBC One, BBC Two, and ITV. The speech will be available to watch on iPlayer and ITVX after it is first broadcast.
What will King Charles say in his Christmas message?
King Charles, 74, recorded his Christmas Day message on Tuesday 13 December - this was after the first half of the Harry & Meghan Netflix documentary was released but before the final episodes landed on the site.
The specific content of the speech has not been revealed, but it is very likely that Charles will pay tribute to his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, who died in September, aged 96. Historian and author Jeremy Archer told OK! magazine: “He’ll talk about how positive she was and how inclusive she was. It will be solemn and reflective, but it will show gratitude for her reign, her life and all the things she’s achieved.”
Charles is also expected to mention his son Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle despite tensions flaring between the Duke and Duchess of Susex and the rest of the Royal Family. The pair accused the family of lying in order to protect Prince William, who is now the heir to the throne, and Harry claimed that his father “said things that simply weren’t true” at a meeting with the Queen in 2020.
Other themes that are likely to be addressed in the Christmas message are the cost of living crisis which has affected millions of families across the UK, and the war in Ukraine, which saw a major UK response.
How many people will watch The King’s Speech?
It is unknown exactly how many viewers will tune into The King’s Speech this year - last year more than 9 million people tuned in to what turned out to be Queen Elizabeth II’s last Christmas speech. As this year will mark King Charles III’s first King’s Speech, it is likely to have a high audience share, potentially reaching more than 10 million viewers.