THE QUEEN’S SPEECH
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.