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

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

King Charles III will deliver his first speech on Christmas Day 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, aged 96.

For many of us, it will be strange to see King Charles on our screens on December 25, as we have grown accustomed to hearing the Queen’s message on Christmas Day for the past 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 deliver a speech on Christmas Day (Photo: Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

The last time the UK gave a King’s Speech on Christmas Day was in 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 (then) daughter Princess Elizabeth will have to take her place on the Commonwealth tour.

King George died just over a month after the speech was broadcast, on February 6, 1952, aged 56, after failing to recover from lung surgery.

Her daughter, who was touring the Commonwealth at the time, immediately became Queen and since then we have had a Queen’s Speech on Christmas Day.

King George VI’s last Christmas message was pre-recorded, as he had recently undergone surgery, however, unlike today, the Christmas Day speech was usually broadcast live, well into the 1960s.

When was the king’s first speech?

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

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

The King declined, believing the radio was for entertainment only, but agreed to 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 was broadcast on the radio until 1957, when Queen Elizabeth II delivered the first televised address.

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

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

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

MORE: Inside Sandringham – the Royal Family’s Christmas home

MORE: What time is King Charles’ first Christmas Day speech and how do you watch it?

Follow Metro on our social networks, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Share your opinions in the comments below

Leave a Comment