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High­lights of Her Majesty’s Christ­mas out­fits

When it comes to Christ­mas tra­di­tions, a lot has changed since The Sun­day Tele­graph’s launch in 1961. How­ever, one that has re­mained stead­fastly con­sis­tent over the decades is the Queen’s Christ­mas Day speech – last year, over 7.6 mil­lion of us paused at 3pm to watch Her Majesty speak for 10 min­utes. As for her fes­tive style, there have been brightly hued cardi­gans, bold pat­terned dresses and with­out fail a string of pearls or four. Here are our favourites…


From her first tele­vised speech in 1957, when she wore gold bro­cade, the Queen stuck to a fail­safe uni­form for her early Christ­mas ap­pear­ances – a fes­tive-look­ing party dress.

Its 1961 in­car­na­tion fea­tured an el­e­gant gabar­dine bow on the shoul­der. We’d like to think there was a cock­tail just out of shot, as she re­flected on her trav­els around the world that year.

Was this the mo­ment that Her Majesty de­cided vivid block colours were her thing?


To ac­ces­sorise her 1962 dress, the Queen chose some of her most elab­o­rate jew­ellery. She went for a quadru­ple-strand pearl neck­lace and her largest bow brooch, the True Lover’s Knot, a sym­bolic piece that she later wore in 2011 to the wed­ding of the Duke and Duchess of Cam­bridge.

Her speech fo­cused on the launch of the first ac­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tions satel­lite, which made it pos­si­ble to broad­cast al­most live.


The Queen’s speech was shown in colour for the first time this year, an oc­ca­sion that war­ranted a stand­out ca­nary-yel­low dress. Was this the mo­ment that Her Majesty de­cided vivid block colours were her thing? In any case, with her bright choice she was bang on trend as psychedelia reached its peak.


A ter­ra­cotta shift dress showed that the Queen was in touch with both 1960s sil­hou­ettes and the in­com­ing 1970s colour pal­ettes, with­out los­ing her sig­na­ture prim­ness.


A pale-blue dress was off­set with co­ral lip­stick this year – a com­bi­na­tion that looked good on screen and was suit­ably modern for the year the UK went dec­i­mal. Her brooch of choice was the Cam­bridge Pearl Pen­dant and the theme was fam­ily, with Princes An­drew and Ed­ward, 11 and seven, re­cruited to browse the fam­ily al­bums.


The speech was broad­cast from out­side for the first time. The pub­lic got to see Her Majesty wrapped up in her cosy but clas­sic win­ter coat, in the gar­dens of Buck­ing­ham Palace.


In the year of her Sil­ver Ju­bilee, the Queen wore a silk dress cinched at the waist with a wide belt – a clas­sic state­ment in a decade dom­i­nated by flowy bo­hemian sil­hou­ettes and (let’s not for­get) punk.


Recorded in the year of Charles and Diana’s wed­ding, on the ter­race of Buck­ing­ham Palace, the Queen picked a bub­blegum-pink coat for her ad­dress, adding the Cul­li­nan V Brooch, which holds a heart-shaped 18.8ct di­a­mond at its cen­tre.


Broad­cast from her desk at Buck­ing­ham Palace, with Her Majesty wear­ing a sim­ple corn­flowerblue shift, this was the first time we saw her make her Christ­mas Day speech with her glasses on.


This year the Queen again broke from her reg­u­lar shift dresses and prim, col­lared coats in favour of an of-the-mo­ment pussy-bow blouse.


For the first time, Her Majesty broad­cast her speech from the li­brary at Buck­ing­ham Palace, choos­ing to wear a soft, but so 1980s pussy-bow dress. This marked the 50th an­niver­sary of the first royal Christ­mas mes­sage.


The 1986 ad­dress was filmed out­doors in the Royal Mews at Buck­ing­ham Palace, al­low­ing the Queen to wear a tweed jacket that nod­ded to her eques­trian skills. She is seen here with David At­ten­bor­ough, who pro­duced her Christ­mas Day speeches un­til 1991.


Through­out the 1990s, the Queen found (and stuck to) a new sig­na­ture style: bold-coloured suit jack­ets and match­ing round-neck dresses.


The mid-1990s sparked a run of royal blues, as the Queen chose the shade for her Christ­mas speech four times in a row. Here she wears the Cam­bridge Pearl Pen­dant Brooch.


In the year that saw the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Queen’s speech was a highly per­sonal one. She wore the Pearl Tre­foil Brooch, one of her favourites, for the oc­ca­sion.


At San­dring­ham, in a fuch­sia frock with a bow at the waist, the Queen looked par­tic­u­larly re­laxed, de­spite the fact that a fire had de­stroyed part of Wind­sor Cas­tle the pre­vi­ous month.


By this point a grand­mother six times over (she now has eight grand­chil­dren, plus seven great­grand­chil­dren), Her Majesty brought the Wil­liamson Di­a­mond Brooch out of the vault.


This year was the last David At­ten­bor­ough pro­duc­tion. Un­der his ten­ure, Her Majesty wore es­pe­cially vis­ually en­gag­ing out­fits. The eclec­tic print on this dress and jacket was one of the most me­morable.


For her last ad­dress of a mil­len­nium, the Queen chose an elec­tric-blue suit and her clas­sic pearls (here she is pic­tured record­ing the ra­dio ver­sion of her speech).


The Queen re­turned to a wardrobe favourite this year, with a bur­gundy wool-crêpe dress, Pearl Tre­foil Brooch and a triple strand of pearls.


In the year she cel­e­brated the mar­riages of Prince Wil­liam and Zara Phillips, the Queen’s out­fit was suit­ably joy­ous: a red shift and elab­o­rate Flame Lily Brooch.


In the year that the Queen cel­e­brated the birth of Prince Ge­orge, a fu­ture king, and the 60th an­niver­sary of her own coro­na­tion, her Christ­mas dress was a sunny yel­low, em­bel­lished with shiny seed beads.


Last Christ­mas, with two new­com­ers to wel­come (the Duchess of Cam­bridge was preg­nant with Prince Louis, and Prince Harry be­came en­gaged to Meghan Markle), the Queen wore a cel­e­bra­tory white bouclé dress em­broi­dered with sil­ver and gold spots.


For only the sec­ond time, the Queen’s speech was filmed be­yond a royal res­i­dence. At South­wark Cathe­dral she wore a bright-green skirt suit to meet chil­dren work­ing on a na­tiv­ity col­lage.


Be­tween the Di­a­mond Ju­bilee and the Lon­don Olympics, this was a year of great cel­e­bra­tion, and Her Majesty ended it in true re­gal style, wear­ing a white­and-sil­ver bro­cade dress that shim­mered like a di­a­mond.

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