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EDITIONS
 Tuesday, 24 December, 2002, 14:28 GMT
Queen reflects on 'rollercoaster year'
The Queen, in preview footage of her broadcast
The Queen will reflect on family deaths and her Jubilee
The Queen will reflect on "a momentous and rollercoaster year" in her Christmas Day broadcast.

"As I look back over these past 12 months, I know that it has been about as full a year as I can remember," she says in her special message to the nation.

For the first time, the public was given a sneak preview of the Queen's traditional address in a clip shown on Monday.

The Queen's Jubilee celebrations
It has been about as full a year as I can remember

Excerpt from Queen's speech

In the full version to be shown at 1500 GMT, viewers will see a montage of extracts from her year of engagements.

They include scenes from the Golden Jubilee weekend.

Then there were more sober occasions including the Bali memorial service at St Paul's Cathedral, London, the 2002 naval review at Portsmouth and informal shots of the Queen travelling by train on the Gateshead Metro.

Speaking from the White Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace, with photographs of the Queen Mother, King George VI and Princess Margaret beside her, the Queen will focus on the sadness and joy of 2002.

Golden Jubilee

She will be wearing a rock crystal and hand-painted brooch set with 100 diamonds, which she had given her late mother as a 100th birthday present.

She is expected to acknowledge the public support she received during the Golden Jubilee, which marked 50 years on the throne.

She will also reflect on the deaths of her sister, Princess Margaret, and her mother.

The speech has traditionally been filmed in great secrecy. On one occasion, when the content of the broadcast was inadvertently disclosed by a BBC court correspondent, the journalist left his post.

Audience decline

The Palace has never previously publicised the theme of the monarch's annual message to Britain and the Commonwealth in advance.

But this year, it was even trailed in television adverts in a bid to boost ratings.

Audiences have been declining in recent decades.

In 1987, the address attracted an audience of 28 million.

By 2000 it had slumped to 9.8m, and last year just 8.7m viewers tuned in.

QUEEN'S SPEECH VIEWING FIGURES
1987: 28m
2000: 9.8m
2001: 8.7m

Former Royal press officer Dickie Arbiter said it was an "important message" to the nation.

He said: "They are her thoughts, in her words, without any outside interference.

"At the end of the day it is a programme, listed in the television magazines and newspaper - therefore why shouldn't it be trailed like other programmes?"

The Queen is using a walking stick after straining a knee ligament at Newmarket last week, the Palace revealed on Monday.

She is said to be making a quick recovery from the injury, which is "not serious", and will be attending a church service on Christmas Day.

The speech will be broadcast at 1500 GMT on both BBC One and ITV1.

But at the same time Channel 4 will show an "alternative Christmas message" from the wife of British rock star Ozzy Osbourne, Sharon.

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  The BBC's Nicholas Witchell
"A lot of thought goes into the Queen's Christmas broadcast"
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