"The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy, but small steps can make a world of difference," said the monarch
Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth on Christmas Day 2019
| Credit: Steve Parsons/Getty Images

Queen Elizabeth has honored one of her most steadfast traditions: her annual “Queen’s Speech” on Christmas.

The deeply religious monarch, 93, shares words of reflection each year as she commemorates the holiday. The Queen recorded the speech in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle surrounded by personal family photos.

In this year’s speech, she addressed the 75th anniversary of D-Day, stating that after the battle, “in the true spirit of reconciliation, those who had formerly been sworn enemies came together in friendly commemorations . . . putting past differences behind them.”

Wearing a royal blue cashmere dress by her go-to dresser, Angela Kelly, she accessorized the look with the diamond-and-sapphire Prince Albert brooch, which was given by Albert to Queen Victoria in 1840 on the eve of their wedding. Speaking about the life of Jesus and the importance of reconciliation, she said, “how many small steps taken in faith and in hope can overcome long-held differences and deep-seated divisions to bring harmony and understanding.

“The path, of course, is not always smooth, and may at times this year have felt quite bumpy,” she noted, “but small steps can make a world of difference.”

Among the family photos visible during the speech: a portrait of Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall commemorating the 50th anniversary of Charles’ investiture as Prince of Wales; a family portrait of Prince William, Kate Middleton and their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis; a photo of Prince Philip from the Queen’s personal collection; and a vintage photo of the Queen with the Apollo 11 astronauts at Buckingham Palace in 1970.

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Not pictured is the Queen’s youngest great-grandchild, Archie, who was born in May to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Earlier this month on Instagram, the royal family shared footage of the Queen’s very first televised Christmas address in 1957.

“I very much hope that this new medium will make my Christmas message more personal and direct,” the young Queen says as she looks into the camera smiling, occasionally checking her notes on the desk in front of her.

Filmed at Sandringham in 1957, she continues: “It’s inevitable that I should seem a rather remote figure to many of you – a successor to the Kings and Queens of history. Someone whose face may be familiar in newspapers and films but who never really touches your personal lives. But now at least for a few minutes I welcome you to the peace of my own home.”

Watching the Queen’s speech on Christmas Day is a holiday tradition shared in many homes around the world and one that has stood the test of time. In 2012, the Queen recorded her message in 3D for the first time, exactly 80 years after her grandfather King George V broadcast his first speech on the radio, beginning the royal tradition.

The monarch gave her first ever Christmas speech five years prior at age 26, just months after the death of her father and before her coronation. The video, which shows the 31-year-old monarch wearing a metallic evening dress and a pearl necklace, was filmed at the Long Library at Sandringham. Portraits of her young children Prince Charles and Princess Anne can be seen in the background.

After talking about the advances in technology and how important it is “to take advantage of the new life without losing the best of the old,” the monarch goes on to discuss the royal tours she and Prince Philip undertook that year and the huge welcome they received, ending with: “I hope that 1958 may bring you God’s blessing and all the things you long for. And so I wish you all, young and old, wherever you may be, all the fun and enjoyment and the peace of a very happy Christmas.”