I’m not crying, you’re crying.
Time-honored traditions are important to Queen Elizabeth, and her annual Christmas speech is no exception, despite a tough year. Since 1952, she’s given a message that sums up the year’s events and brings some holiday cheer. This year, however, is the queen’s first Christmas without Prince Philip, and by the looks of a somber photograph released ahead of the speech, she made a thoughtful tribute to her late husband of 73 years.
The first photo of her address was officially released on Thursday, Dec. 23. It’s traditional for her to have several family photos visible on her desk while she makes her speech, but this year, there is only a single picture of her and Philip. They honeymooned in Broadlands, Hampshire in 1947, and — as captured in the photo on her desk — they returned to the same place to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in 2007.
On those two visits to Broadlands, she wore her beloved sapphire chrysanthemum brooch. She wore it again to deliver her 2021 holiday address. It’s set to air on Christmas Day on Saturday, Dec. 25 at 3 p.m. in the UK, which is 7 a.m. PT / 10 a.m. ET in the United States.
This year, the speech was filmed in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle, a spot you may recognize from her and Prince Philip’s 70th-anniversary photos or Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s wedding portraits.
The Royal Family’s YouTube channel shared a behind-the-scenes video of the preparations for the Queen’s Christmas broadcast. You can watch the clip below.
The Christmas address is a longstanding tradition, first initiated by Queen Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, in 1932. Elizabeth followed in her father’s footsteps after his death and her ascension to the throne in 1952.
Queen Elizabeth’s devotion to Prince Philip during their marriage has touched fans, including her recent comments about their relationship. Six months after his death, on Oct. 2, the Queen delivered a speech during the sixth session of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, reflecting on all their “happy memories,” especially in Scotland. Throughout her reign, she’s publicly referred to Philip as her “strength” several times.
Although the televised speech will be available for anyone to tune in, 2021 will mark the second year in a row that the pre-Christmas family lunch won’t take place due to COVID-19.
To watch Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas speech, you can tune in on the Royal Family’s YouTube channel, BBC One, ITV, Sky News, or Sky One, or listen to it on BBC Radio 4.