Queen's deeply personal speech tops ratings chart as most-viewed Christmas programme


The Queen’s deeply personal Christmas speech was the most-watched broadcast on December 25, drawing a cumulative audience of 8.96 million people. The speech, in which the monarch voiced her grief in the wake of the death of Prince Philip, aired at 3pm on BBC One, ITV and Sky News.

The speech was followed by the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special, which was watched in the early evening by nearly six million people.

During the broadcast, pop star Anne-Marie and her professional dancing partner Graziano Di Prima were crowned winners after performing a cha-cha, which awarded them a perfect score of 40 from the judges.

The third-most viewed programme was Call The Midwife, with an audience of 4.7 million people.

It was followed by Michael McIntyre’s Christmas Wheel with 4.6 million viewers and Blankety Blank in the fifth position with an audience of 4.2 million people.

The BBC secured eight of the top 10 programmes on Christmas Day while ITV took the eighth and ninth place in the chart with its Christmas episodes of Coronation Street and Emmerdale.

This is the second year in a row the Queen’s speech has been the most-viewed programme on December 25.

Last year, her speech focused on hope amid the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, raked in 8.14 million viewers.

This figure marked an improvement when compared to ratings from 2019.

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Then, the Queen’s broadcast was watched by 7.85 million people and overtaken by Gavin and Stacey, chosen by 11.6 million people.

In this year’s speech, Her Majesty empathised with families who have lost a loved one – much like she did in April, when Prince Philip passed away.

The monarch said: “Although it’s a time of great happiness and good cheer for many, Christmas can be hard for those who have lost loved ones.

“This year, especially, I understand why.


“But for me, in the months since the death of my beloved Philip, I have drawn great comfort from the warmth and affection of the many tributes to his life and work – from around the country, the Commonwealth and the world.”

The Queen went on sharing details of her day-to-day life with the Duke of Edinburgh, speaking of his “sense of service, intellectual curiosity and capacity to squeeze fun out of any situation”.

Moreover, she spoke about his “mischievous, enquiring twinkle”, which remained as bright as ever even in his late years.

The Queen also recalled one of Prince Philip’s most important achievements – the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – and his early interest in conservation.

This led her to praise their son Charles and grandson Prince William.

She said: “He was also an early champion of taking seriously our stewardship of the environment, and I am proud beyond words that his pioneering work has been taken on and magnified by our eldest son Charles and his eldest son William – admirably supported by Camilla and Catherine – most recently at the COP climate change summit in Glasgow.”

The monarch also looked at the future – with mentions of the Commonwealth Games taking place in Birmingham in 2022 and her Platinum Jubilee.

Referring to the four royal babies born this year, the Queen added: “Perhaps it’s truer to say that Christmas can speak to the child within us all.

“Adults, when weighed down with worries, sometimes fail to see the joy in simple things, where children do not.

“And for me and my family, even with one familiar laugh missing this year, there will be joy in Christmas, as we have the chance to reminisce, and see anew the wonder of the festive season through the eyes of our young children, of whom we were delighted to welcome four more this year.

“They teach us all a lesson – just as the Christmas story does – that in the birth of a child, there is a new dawn with endless potential.”


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