Monday, 25 December 2017

Queen Welcomes Meghan To The Royal Family As She Places Engagement Portrait Of The Actress And Prince Harry On Table Alongside Her As She Delivers Her Speech (but there's no place for Kate and Wills)

Queen's speech features Meghan Markle portrait
The Queen went out of her way to welcome Meghan Markle to the Royal Family in her Christmas message as she said she looked forward to welcoming 'new members' into the family in the New Year. A framed photograph of the bride-to-be with her beau Prince Harry was displayed with other family pictures as the monarch spoke, and the couple also featured in video footage aired at the end of the festive broadcast.

A framed photograph of the bride-to-be with her beau Prince Harry was displayed with other family pictures as the monarch spoke, and the couple also featured in video footage aired at the end of the festive broadcast. 
Pictured left to right: The Queen and Prince Philip on their wedding day in 1947; the royal couple on their 70th wedding anniversary this year; Princess Charlotte's official second birthday portrait; Prince George's official fourth birthday portrait 

She will also have been talking about the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's new child which is due to be born in April 2018.

The Queen did not, however, mention the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge by name. 

The Queen will pay tribute to the Royal Family during her 60th Christmas speech as she poses next to photos of her and Prince Philip, her great-grandchildren Charlotte and George, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and Prince Charles and Camilla

The monarch gave the speech in the 1844 room alongside portraits of her and Prince Philip and her great-grandchildren, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
Also visible on another table were the official engagement portrait of Prince Harry and his fiancée Meghan Markle as well as Prince Charles and his wife Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall taken earlier this year by Mario Testino.

The Queen and her husband featured in a black and white image from their 1947 wedding, and in a colour photo released to mark their 70th wedding anniversary celebrated in November.

Taken by photographer Chris Jackson, the portrait of Prince George was issued by Kensington Palace on July 22nd to mark the youngster's fourth birthday.
The photo of Charlotte was taken by her mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, to mark her second birthday on May 2nd. 

The Queen's speech in full 

Sixty years ago today, a young woman spoke about the speed of technological change as she presented the first television broadcast of its kind. She described the moment as a landmark.
Six decades on, the presenter has 'evolved' somewhat, as has the technology she described. Back then, who could have imagined that people would one day be watching this on laptops and mobile phones – as some of you are today. But I'm also struck by something that hasn't changed. That, whatever the technology, many of you will be watching this at home.
We think of our homes as places of warmth, familiarity, and love; of shared stories and memories, which is perhaps why at this time of year so many returns to where they grew up. There is a timeless simplicity to the pull of home. 
For many, the idea of 'home' reaches beyond a physical building – to a hometown or city. This Christmas, I think of London and Manchester, whose powerful identities shone through over the past twelve months in the face of appalling attacks. In Manchester, those targeted included children who had gone to see their favorite singer. A few days after the bombing, I had the privilege of meeting some of the young survivors and their parents. 
I describe that hospital visit as a 'privilege' because the patients I met were an example to us all, showing extraordinary bravery and resilience. Indeed, many of those who survived the attack came together just days later for a benefit concert. It was a powerful reclaiming of the ground, and of the city, those young people call home.
We expect our homes to be a place of safety – 'sanctuary' even – which makes it all the more shocking when the comfort they provide is shattered. A few weeks ago, The Prince of Wales visited the Caribbean in the aftermath of hurricanes that destroyed entire communities. And here in London, who can forget the sheer awfulness of the Grenfell Tower fire? 
Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who died and those who lost so much; and we are indebted to members of the emergency services who risked their own lives, this past year, saving others. Many of them, of course, will not be at home today because they are working, to protect us.

Reflecting on these events makes me grateful for the blessings of home and family, and in particular for 70 years of marriage. I don't know that anyone had invented the term platinum' for a 70th wedding anniversary when I was born. You weren't expected to be around that long. Even Prince Philip has decided it's time to slow down a little – having, as he economically put it, 'done his bit'. But I know his support and unique sense of humour will remain as strong as ever, as we enjoy spending time this Christmas with our family and look forward to welcoming new members into it next year. 

In 2018 I will open my home to a different type of family: the leaders of the fifty-two nations of the Commonwealth, as they gather in the UK for a summit. The Commonwealth has an inspiring way of bringing people together, be it through the Commonwealth Games – which begin in a few months' time on Australia's Gold Coast – or through bodies like the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra & Choir: a reminder of how truly vibrant this international family is. 

Today we celebrate Christmas, which itself is sometimes described as a festival of the home. Families travel long distances to be together. Volunteers and charities, as well as many churches, arrange meals for the homeless and those who would otherwise be alone on Christmas Day. We remember the birth of Jesus Christ whose only sanctuary was a stable in Bethlehem. He knew rejection, hardship and persecution; and yet it is Jesus Christ's generous love and example which has inspired me through good times and bad.
Whatever your own experiences this year; wherever and however you are watching, I wish you a peaceful and very happy Christmas.

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