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Queen 'watches her speech alone'

22 December 07 11:53 GMT

The Queen sometimes watches her own Christmas speech alone on 25 December, the Duke of York has revealed.

Prince Andrew said the monarch sometimes leaves the room as the rest of the Royal family gather round the television at Sandringham.

She liked to check her message had come across "in the right way", he said.

The duke made his comments on an ITV programme called Lights! Camera! The Queen! which charts the history of the Christmas message.

The programme marks the 50th anniversary of the Queen's first televised festive address.

The duke said: "I do remember that sometimes the Queen watches it and sometimes sits in another room thinking 'Has it come across in the right way?' but it's always been a part of the family tradition.

"As children we were always encouraged after lunch to behave ourselves and wait for the Queen's message, because lunch would usually finish within 10 or 15 minutes of quarter to three, and three o'clock is the time we all sit down and watch it.

"So as a family group we always watched it."

Previous messages

Prince Andrew also stressed the importance of the Queen's message.

"The Christmas message reflects not just her opinions but what has happened in the year and how we can bring ourselves as a family - and we're a family of a huge number of different cultures, races, creeds - how we can bring that family, as part of the United Kingdom, together."

The Queen used her first Christmas message, in 1952, to ask her new subjects to pray for her on her forthcoming coronation day, but she usually focuses on the country as a whole.

In 2004, the Queen appealed for tolerance and understanding between cultural and religious groups in Britain's diverse society and last year she focused on the relationship between different generations.

There have also been technological changes during her reign.

In 1957 the speech was televised for the first time and from 1960 the radio and TV broadcasts were pre-recorded instead of being transmitted live.

And last year Her Majesty's speech was made available as a podcast for the first time.

Lights! Camera! The Queen! will be shown on Christmas Day on ITV1 after this year's pre-recorded message from the monarch.

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