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Thursday, 3 January, 2002, 11:29 GMT
Queen's speech: What do you think?
The Queen has given her annual Christmas address to the nation.

The message to the Commonwealth on 25 December has become as traditional a part of the British Christmas as roast turkey and Christmas pudding.

The tradition was begun by the Queen's grandfather, King George V, in 1932. In the early days, the message went out live but since1960 it has been recorded a few days in advance.

So, what do you think of the Queen's Speech? Is it time for her annual address to be abolished?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

No person or institution should be given unquestioned support

Graham Smith, UK
The content of the speech was of no interest to anyone except royalists and traditionalists. The real issue is why we continue to allow this woman an elevated and privileged position. In my view there is not good justification for this situation. But more importantly we must at least encourage real debate on this subject. No person or institution should be given unquestioned support. Especially one that has so utterly failed to provide the country with any benefit whatsoever.
Graham Smith, UK

As an ex-patriot Londoner I wouldn't miss the Queens Speech. It's part of our heritage. I hope Royalty never goes and am disgusted that Oz wants to become a republic. Good on you Liz.
Marj Busby, Australia

The narcotic sentimentality of these holiday speeches would be seen for what they are: continuance of an unjust and corrupt system. Merry wishes and soul searching platitudes help erase the memory of retribution and compensation. And these people believe that they are the pinnacle of civilization!!
Ernesto, the Netherlands

Usual dry, humourless, irrelevant "bulldog-chewing-a-wasp face" nonsense. Who cares what the Queen thinks? The sooner we get rid of the embarrassing anachronism of a "royal" family the better.
Mike D., UK

I agree with the person who said he was ashamed of the comments of his own people. I'm not even British and its weird hearing all these negative comments about their own Queen and her Christmas Speech.
Mike, Dallas, Texas, USA

The President of the United States makes a "State of the Union" address, and this is very interesting. Why shouldn't the Queen make a speech? It was sensitive and diplomatic.
Phil W, UK

I personally thought the Queen's speech was a little cold and impersonal. I believe if anything she should have more time to speak as befitting the head of the nation around which some of our views on community centre. With a longer broadcast time people would be able to know their monarch more, the queen should not only be a figure head but a mother of the nation who has time to teach her children's her views rather than a mere summary of the events. If I wanted a summary I would simply watch the news or dreg my brain for the issues of the past year
Craig Lewell, England

God bless our Queen. As an English woman living here in California I look forward to listening to the Queen's speech. If you are nor a Royalist you don't have to listen.
Audrey Blake, USA

We are fortunate to be one of the very few sovereign nations which has a national family to represent us in good times and bad, independent of political and military egos

Nicholas Howard Canada
The Queen's annual Christmas speech offers an example of the continuity in our lives, both on a personal and community basis. If we feel it has no place in our society today, we might just as well erase the pages of history from which our country has grown. We are fortunate to be one of the very few sovereign nations which has a national family to represent us in good times and bad, independent of political and military egos.
Nicholas Howard, Canada

Although her speech is often predictable, I always try to listen to her at Christmas. She is, after all, more experienced in world affairs than most of our politicians. I would hate to see her speech abolished. No-one is forced to watch it if they don't want to. Anti-monarchists can always switch channels.
Ray Marsh, Australia

Of course the Queen's speech is political - it invariably has a conservative agenda of supporting established institutions. After a year when we've seen a terrifying example of where religious faith and sense of belonging to a group can lead, it's wildly misguided to claim that religious faith and belonging to a group offer hope for the future.
Ray, UK

It was with great pleasure that I watched both the video and read the text of the Queen's Speech. Some responses clearly ignore the fact that it is a Christmas message. Having married an American, I have lived most of my married life abroad. For me the Queen's speech is an important part of Christmas and one I look forward to. It is sad to see derogatory comments about anyone; even sadder when the person concerned has devoted so many years service to her country. This year's speech was excellent and certainly reflected my family's view.
Jenny Bates, USA

I did not see the speech this year but I do believe in tradition

Simon James England
I have just read the comments in this column and find myself deeply ashamed. Almost all the negative comments are by UK residents whereas all the positive ones are from overseas. How deeply embarrassing. I did not see the speech this year but I do believe in tradition. As for Daniel Blamey's comments of having an elected leader giving us a little talking to I really can't think of anything more condescending than seeing our leader, Tony Blair, talking down to us.
Simon James, England

Wonderful! With concision she captured the feelings of the year and our need to turn both to the deeper meanings of our faith and, at the same time, hear the callings of God in the faith of others. It was a message which fit the times perfectly.
Larry Smith, USA

The concept of giving the Royal Family airtime is absurd, irrelevant and insulting to any intelligent human being. But we can't expect anything better from a BBC that has become the television equivalent of the Sun newspaper.
Martin Norris, UK

I think the Queen's speech was very predictable. The speech is never very inspiring, and the queen is also quite an uninteresting person. I think she should try to write the speech herself, instead of getting others to. Actually, no I don't, because then it would be even more boring than it was today.
Lisa Tanner, England

To suggest immediately after broadcasting the Queen's speech that it should be abolished, is highly irresponsible

Margaret Howell

This was a fine speech, balanced and sensitive, calling us to unity and reflection. The Queen is a point of reference in a chaotic world. Her role, like her speech, is vital, and it is under attack, vicious attack, like many other venerable institutions which have sustained us through the centuries. This attack seems quite deliberate and it is conducted through the media and other authorities and seems co-ordinated.
Margaret J. Howell, Canada

I think that the Queen's message was excellent. The Queen demonstrated once again her skilled ability of being a great leader for the Commonwealth.
Jonathan Lieberman, USA

Every year the Queen says the most commonplace and unremarkable things, and every year her adoring subjects marvel at her insight. She may very well be a charming and intelligent person, but please don't get all excited over some well-meaning comments that could have been made by some trainee Guardian-reading vicar on any Sunday. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, I'm a well-meaning Guardian reader myself. But I don't think that qualifies me to be head of state.)
David, London, UK

Why abolish a speech that encourages people to be peaceful and considerate to their neighbours?

Stuart Hopper
Would a speech by an elected head of state be any better? Of course not! It would be full of election propaganda and would just be a manifesto! The great thing about the Queen's Speech is that it contains no politics. It is not forced on anyone and it is there for millions of people around the world, to encourage unity and peace. Now is that better than elected politician barking on about some policies?
Pete Mash, UK

I have not heard them all, but this is by far the best Christmas Address she has given in my experience
Rodger Cummins, Canada

No other country's head of state broadcasts a speech around the world at Christmas. Why abolish a speech that encourages people to be peaceful and considerate to their neighbours? I am very proud that the Queen speaks, she is an asset.
Stuart Hopper (20), UK

As a foreigner, I regard the Queen as a symbolization of United Kingdom. As long as she was sincere in what she said, I really appreciate this tradition .
Yu-han Tseng, Taipei, Taiwan

There's a breathtaking irony and crassness in encouraging religious belief in the wake of religion-motivated terrorist attacks.
Julian Smart, UK

The message itself was honest and heartfelt and I thank Her Majesty for it

Tim Morgan
Great speech. Once again the Queen proves she is a great lady. That¿s why we want her to continue to reign. Long live her Majesty.
Sofi Fokas, Greece

It's not Christmas without seeing the Queen's Message, and I thank the BBC for giving me the chance to see it overseas. The message itself was honest and heartfelt and I thank Her Majesty for it. God save the Queen, and may she have a truly wonderful 50th year in the big chair.
Tim Morgan, USA (From the UK)

The Queen's Christmas Message was a heartfelt message indeed. It brought me to tears. So eloquently she speaks what is on our hearts and minds at this time of year. We all needed to hear this. For these precious moments, this Christmas Message is just what the Commonwealth and indeed the World needs to hear. God Save the Queen.
Christopher Cholewa, u.s.a.

As usual the Queen is a pithy, straight-talking focus of wisdom and unity. A perfect reminder of why we don't want some smarmy politician as a Head of State.
Nicholas Beale, UK

As a British resident living in the States, I look forward to hearing the Queen's speech every year. I thought her references to community work were particularly appropriate at this time in history. Here we have a person who, because she did not have to wage an election campaign, did not become tainted by some of the excesses that are seen in elections; and although her job does not bring with it any real 'power' such as a politician's might, what it does bring is huge influence. The Queen is using that influence wisely, backed by her almost fifty years of experience on the job (which few politicians could match). A constitutional monarchy is the absolute best way to run a country, with the monarch acting as a counterweight to the excesses of politicians. Seasons Greetings everyone, and a super 2002 to all!
Lesley Hammons, UK/USA

How is one supposed to believe in the continued viability of the monarchy, when the monarch's only significant statement of the year contains both insults and ignorance?

Harley Dennett
Although I am a Romanian, I always enjoy listening to the Queen's Message. It is a superb tradition and Her Majesty has carried it on beautifully for 50 years now. Happy Christmas to everybody!
Alexis Market, Romania

The Queen's comments both insult the humanity and compassion of the non-religious, and contract all current scientific knowledge of communal psychology. Perhaps her scientific advisors should have warned her that communities based on single attributes like religion or race, are far more likely to have issues of 'otherness' like racism and intolerance. If scientific advice wasn't enough to prove that very significant error in Her Majesty's message, then history certainly does. How is one supposed to believe in the continued viability of the monarchy, when the monarch's only significant statement of the year contains both insults and ignorance.
Harley Dennett, Australia

As an ex-pat, I once was a staunch monarchist and traditionalist. But the behaviour of the royal family in recent years caused me to re-examine my position. I now believe that royalty is irrelevant and moreover damaging in today¿s world. To flaunt their position and wealth in an era of open communication just draws attention to just how remote they have become. If the monarchy is allowed to continue in the 21st century it needs downsizing on a par with the Spanish royal family. This move might save them from extinction.
Neil, USA

I think the queen is terrific! The whole point of a monarchy is that it is not elected -thank goodness! (who would want the spin, the cost, and the manipulation). She has done a wonderful job well into the years that most people would retire and her Xmas speech was thoughtful and relevant.
Helen, UK

I give it five stars - I think her words (and the video production) were very comforting to us all.
Gene Biter, USA

I think the Queen's speech is an important part of Christmas. She speaks the truth, and for all of us, with her feelings on present worries and crisis. I love the Royal Family and would hate to see an end to her speech as some suggest. (Proud to be British)
Glen, England

I always enjoy the Queen's speech at Christmas and her comments this year ring true

Well, she certainly won no friends among those of us who believe that absurd beliefs in "faith" are the root cause of the problem, not the solution.
Tommy Brown, Scotland

I always enjoy the Queen's speech at Christmas and her comments this year ring true. I agree with working toward a strong community and I wish churches could offer the spiritual comfort she describes. Religion seems to be divisive to me both globally and locally although I'm sure that's not the intention.
Pat, Canada

Growing up, I used to dismiss the Queen's speech as a meaningless relic of a bygone age - an easy thing to do unless you actually listen closely to what she has to say. This year, for instance, she used the attack on America to highlight the suffering of ALL victims of violence around the world. She asks all of us to show compassion and understanding in our lives in a simple yet powerful message delivered with immense dignity. (A refreshing change from the daily diet of tub-thumping politicians and publicity-desperate celebrities.) This alone should put the Queen's Speech beyond criticism. With the world plunging into madness around us, taking a few minutes once a year to listen to good advice given with heartfelt sincerity isn't too much to ask, surely. One day the lunatics will be in complete control - enjoy it while you can.
Erik Thomas, England

Her Majesty is always welcome in Canada, in person or via satellite. The Monarchy is majestic by what it prevents, not only by what it does, as her speeches are relevant more by what is not said as much as by what is said.
Bill Rain ford, Canada

The Queen's message conveyed to millions across the world the true good spirit of the world

Neal Goodwin
For my wife and I, Christmas begins with the Queen's Christmas Day message. England is my wife's home and the home of my ancestors. Listening to Her Majesty transports us back to the United Kingdom, where we both hope to return someday. When the National Anthem plays we hug, cry, and begin our holiday happy that we are British.
Robert Millen Peru, Illinois USA

I was very impressed with the Queen's 50th Christmas message. I am a British subject living in San Francisco, California, USA, and I am proud the Queen together with the British people has shown such sincere courage and support for the people of the United States. I would say that being able to watch the Queen's speech on the Internet was one of the highlights of my Christmas. The Queen's message conveyed to millions across the world the true good spirit of the world and furthermore touched my heart that further connected my spirit to my homeland Britain.
Neal Goodwin, USA

I'm fed up of hearing how we should go back to family roots

I have no interest in the Queen's speech or any of the Royals. I'm fed up of hearing how we should go back to family roots. Time's have changed so much, that it's becoming rare to grow up in the "traditional" family environment. It's best to look ahead not wish we were all more deeply religious and family orientated. To be honest - I was bored by the Queen's speech.
Richard, UK

This gracious lady spoke directly to my heart. Her words are a comfort and a guide to me for the future. Never have I been so poignantly aware of the beautiful gift she is to our generations. I couldn't help but recall listening to the Queen 35 years ago when I was in Vietnam - then as now she is a beacon for what is best in our civilization. God bless this lovely lady and all her family.
John Floyd, Louisiana, USA

The only thing Islam has to teach me is how to avoid getting blown to pieces. The Queen should have more sense.
Michael Entail, UK

It was what I expected. Free from controversy and a rather accurate summing up of people's feelings.
Christine, UK

Her words were thoughtful and honest, and I believe reflect the majority of our views. Unfortunately many of us have no real sense of unity in today's society, and the Church is not the unifying body we would like it to be. If anything religion must be seen as a force for considerable discord these days. I feel it is very important to have a non-political figure to act as a unifying focus for us and to offer some guidance. Long may the Queen's speech continue.
Peter Robinson, UK

For those of us who think abolition of the monarchy cannot come soon enough, the Queen pops up on Christmas Day to remind us we are wrong

Matthew Pearce, Wiltshire, England
I think the Queen's message strikes a chord in all parts of the world. The British Royal Family seem to understand the benefit of moving with the time slowly but surely. This has been reflected in the format of the speech, with Her Majesty acting as a TV presenter - rather a splendid one (at least in the same league as her son, Prince Edward). I totally agree with her that the one certainty is change - and the pace of that change will only seem to increase every year. Let's pray that this change will be a positive one which brings prosperity and happiness to the whole world. She emphasised that we all need to adopt to change and use the lessons learned in the past to understand the present and perhaps prepare for the future. The message applies not only to the Commonwealth, but to the whole world. As my adopted country I love Britain and its people and may I wish all of them merry Christmas and happy new year!
Medici Dewitt, Ethiopian/UK

The Queen's speech is the focal point of any Christmas because she always speaks the truth about the times we're in

James, Britain
For those of us who tire of the minor royals' antics and think abolition of the monarchy cannot come soon enough, the Queen pops up on Christmas Day to remind us we are wrong! Once again the Queen is able to pass comments on British society and worldwide truths to a needy public at the most desperate of times that no politician would have the tenacity to communicate.
Matthew Pearce, Wiltshire, England

Every year at Christmas I enjoy the Queen's message. It is always timely and uplifting.
Johann O. Bierce, Canada

We love it - it's part of home when you live abroad. I'm 63 and the speech brings back childhood memories for me, it's wonderful.
Jill Barstow, USA

I hope next year we have a Christmas message by an elected Head of State. I didn't choose the Queen and she doesn't represent me.
Daniel Blamey, UK

It wasn't the greatest Queen's Christmas message I have ever heard, but it was as good as any

Christopher Hobe Morrison, USA
I personally think the Queen's speech is a focal point of any Christmas because she always speaks the truth about the times we're in, and gives stability and hope to Commonwealth countries globally. I hope this will continue long after her reign is over as a British monarch is still a very powerful voice in the world and needs to be heard. God save the Queen.
James, Britain

I don't know that I expected anything definitely to be in it, or expected to hear anything in it. It wasn't the greatest Queen's Christmas message I have ever heard, but it was as good as any. Basically, it is a sort of ritual that brings us all together at Christmas, and it is this more than the content that is the appeal, although the Queen does have a talent for saying the right thing at the right time (unlike some members of her family). I was listening to the Nine Lessons and Carols from Cambridge and went over to listen to the Queen, then went back to the Nine Lessons and Carols. I wouldn't have wanted to miss either of them.
Christopher Hobe Morrison, USA

I think it was appropriate and to the point - not overly flowery. I liked the mention of Golden Jubilee as I will be in London all of June. I have roots in Britain and still have Silver Jubilee photos and mementoes. See you all in June!
Marti Marquis, USA

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