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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.
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.
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
Pete Mash, UK
I have not heard them all, but this is by far the best Christmas Address she has given in my experience
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.
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 .
There's a breathtaking irony and crassness in encouraging religious belief in the wake of religion-motivated terrorist attacks.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
I give it five stars - I think her words (and the video production) were very comforting to us all.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The only thing Islam has to teach me is how to avoid getting blown to pieces. The Queen should have more sense.
It was what I expected. Free from controversy and a rather accurate summing up of people's feelings.
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.
Medici Dewitt, Ethiopian/UK
Matthew Pearce, Wiltshire, England
Every year at Christmas I enjoy the Queen's message.
It is always timely and uplifting.
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.
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.
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.
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!
25 Dec 01 | UK
Queen stresses faith and community
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