What time is the Queen's speech on Christmas Day and what channel is it on?

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·3 min read
Britain's Queen Elizabeth poses, after recording her annual Christmas Day message in Windsor Castle, in Berkshire, Britain, in this undated pool picture released on December 24, 2019. Steve Parsons/Pool via REUTERS
Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle in 2019, after recording her message. (Reuters)

The Queen’s Christmas Day message has become a staple tradition for millions of Britons each year.

The monarch’s pre-recorded speech is shown every year on 25 December and watched by families across the country, usually after they have tucked into their festive meal.

The Queen herself even watches it, even though she knows what’s coming.

It’s said she watches it with the family, though this year she will only be with Prince Philip, and that no one makes any comments until the end.

What time is the Queen’s speech on?

The Queen’s message is pre-recorded, but it’s shown at 3pm on 25 December.

The message usually lasts about 10 minutes, so the broadcast will be wrapped up by 3.10pm.

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Of course, it will be available to watch on catch-up platforms afterwards too.

While it’s colloquially called a speech, it’s officially the Christmas broadcast. The Queen gives a speech when she opens parliament.

Which channel shows the Queen’s Christmas message?

The message will be broadcast on multiple channels at 3pm on 25 December.

It will be shown on BBC One, ITV and the Sky News channel, as well as Sky One.

Read more: Queen's message: Four other times the Queen gave a special address

The Queen, in a gold lame dress, is seen in the Long Library at Sandringham shortly after making the traditional Christmas Day broadcast to the nation. On the desk are portraits of Prince Charles and Princess Anne. The Queen is holding the copy of 'Pilgrim's Progress', from which she read a few lines during her message. The broadcast was televised this year for the first time and was carried by both the BBC and ITV. It was the 25th anniversary of the first radio message to the Commonwealth by her grandfather, King George V.   (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)
The Queen, in a gold lame dress, in the Long Library at Sandringham shortly after making the traditional Christmas Day broadcast to the nation in 1957. (PA Images)

For those who would rather listen, the audio only will be played on BBC Radio 4.

Last year, the Royal Family also shared the message on its social media pages and YouTube channel. It’s likely the same thing will happen this year.

What will the Queen say in her Christmas message?

The contents of the message itself won’t be disclosed in any detail until moments before it’s shown on television.

But there will likely be a hint of what the Queen will say on Christmas morning, when snippets of the message will be shared via news outlets.

Of course, she can’t avoid the year’s big topic - the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s a topic she has already addressed once this year, making a special broadcast in April during the height of the national lockdown.

In that, she reassured people “We’ll meet again” as she drew of her own wartime experience.

When did the Queen first make her Christmas broadcast?

The Queen carried on the tradition of a Christmas Day broadcast from her father, King George VI.

He made the speech on the radio, but by 1957, she was able to record the message for television.

In that year, she opened her message by saying: “Twenty-five years ago my grandfather broadcast the first of these Christmas messages. Today is another landmark because television has made it possible for many of you to see me in your homes on Christmas Day.

“My own family often gather round to watch television as they are this moment, and that is how I imagine you now.”

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The Queen has been on screens around the UK every 25 December at 3pm, except for one year. In 1969, a repeat of a documentary about the royals was shown instead.

The message is recorded in a royal palace, and in 2019 was shot in Windsor Castle. The Queen will most likely film it there in 2020 too, as she has spent most of the year there and will be there for Christmas.

She has also recorded it in Buckingham Palace in previous years, and it’s been filmed in Sandringham, which is where the Queen usually would be on Christmas Day herself.

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