The first historic speech of the new sovereign tackled the “great anxiety and hardship” many people up and down the country are experiencing this winter. King Charles did not shy away from acknowledging the many families struggling with the cost of living crisis who are trying to “pay their bills and keep their families fed and warm”. But he also praised the “wonderfully kind” citizens who have volunteered their time, food or money in support of those less fortunate.
Charles said he shared with his late mother Elizabeth II “faith in people” who can touch the lives of others with “goodness and compassion”, something he described as the “essence of our community and the very foundation of our society”.
These qualities, he added, were reflected in the “selfless dedication” of the Armed Forces, health and social care professionals, teachers and all those who work in public service.
The King, who recorded his speech in the quire at St George’s Chapel, told Britons: “At this time of great anxiety and hardship, be it for those around the world facing conflict, famine or natural disaster, or for those at home finding ways to pay their bills and keep their families fed and warm, we see it in the humanity of people throughout our nations and the Commonwealth who so readily respond to the plight of others.
“I particularly want to pay tribute to all those wonderfully kind people who so generously give food or donations, or that most precious commodity of all, their time, to support those around them in greatest need, together with the many charitable organizations which do such extraordinary work in the most difficult circumstances.”
After images of the Armed Forces and emergency services at work flashed across the screen, the King also recalled Kate and William’s first trip to Swansea this year as the Prince and Princess of Wales.
During their visit, the pair learned more about St Thomas Church, a community hub supporting vulnerable people.
The King said: “The Prince and Princess of Wales recently visited Wales, shining a light on practical examples of this community spirit.”
During the speech, other working members of the Firm carrying out their duties were also shown on screen, including the Earl and Countess of Wessex and Princess Anne.
Notably absent from both the speech and imagery shown were Meghan and Prince Harry, who stepped down as full-time working members of the Firm in the spring of 2020.
Prince Andrew – who stepped back from public duties in mid-November 2019, was also not featured.
READ MORE: Kate ‘declined’ first invitation to royal Christmas at Sandringham
The Duke of York was seen earlier today in Sandringham, as he joined other members of the Royal Family – including King Charles, Queen Camilla and the Waleses – at the morning service held at St Mary Magdalene Church.
The speech did not fail to pay tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II, who died in September and was buried not far from where the new monarch recorded his speech.
As noted by Charles at the beginning of his broadcast, he was standing “so close to where my beloved mother, the late Queen, is laid to rest with my dear father”.
The late sovereign and Duke of Edinburgh were buried in September in the George VI Memorial Chapel in September, where they joined King George VI, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret.
Possibly speaking also about his grief, the King also described the festive period as a “poignant time” for bereaved families, adding: “We feel their absence at every familiar turn of the season and remember them in each cherished tradition”.
This speech, the first by a King to ever be televised in the UK, followed closely the blueprint created by his mother over her 70-year-long reign, as it included a personal reflection on the year, a mention of current issues and a Christian framework.
Nevertheless, the monarch also acknowledged other faiths in his broadcast, highlighting how religious communities were helping those in financial difficulties and, like Christians, believed in the “power of light overcoming darkness”.
Among the clips shown on screen during the eight-minute-long clip, Charles was seen wearing a Sikh rumal, or handkerchief, on his head as a mark of respect during a visit he carried out earlier this month to the Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Luton .
The broadcast ended with a message for the religious and those with no beliefs: “While Christmas is, of course, a Christian celebration, the power of light overcoming darkness is celebrated across the boundaries of faith and belief.
“So, whatever faith you have, or whether you have none, it is in this life-giving light, and with the true humility that lies in our service to others, that I believe we can find hope for the future. Let us therefore celebrate it together, and cherish it always.”