THE Queen’s Christmas speech proved a television hit this festive season with a 20 percent increase in last year’s viewing total.
The speech was the second-most viewed programme on TV on December 25, figures show, with 7.85 million people lining in to watch on Christmas Day at 3pm. This marked a 20 percent increase in the number of viewers recorded last year, figures show, which means approximately 1.55 million people more watched the monarch delivering her message in 2019 than in 2018.
These figures only take into account those who watched the speech on TV channels in the UK.
People who listened to the Queen from overseas, online or on catch-up services were not counted into the final figures – which means the total number of viewers of the Queen’s Christmas message could be much higher.
The monarch didn’t top the Christmas TV rating, however, but came in second, with BBC comedy Gavin & Stacey gathering an audience of 11.6 million on BBC One.
This year’s figures of the Queen’s speech marked an improvement from last year, but don’t go anywhere near the record ones reached in the 1970s.
However, the Christmas message delivered by the Queen every year, her once-a-year occasion to speak to the public without being the Government’s royal spokeswoman, still holds the same importance of 30 years ago, according to royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams.
He told Express.co.uk: “The Queen’s Christmas Message has retained its symbolic importance.
“Gone are the viewing figures when 28 million people, half the nation, watched it live in 1986, which was a high point.
“Much of the nation no longer spends Christmas in the way that it did.
“Last year’s viewing figures however, of 6.3 million people, are undoubtedly a small percentage of those who saw it on catch up, heard its extensively trailed highlights or saw clips somewhere on social media throughout Britain, the Commonwealth and the wider world.
“The reason for this is that the Queen is unique.
“She is the world’s most famous head of state, who is admired both as head of the Commonwealth and a figure who is held in unique esteem by many millions for her unquestioned devotion to duty.
“The message is in the Queen’s own words and is the one occasion in which she can express them other than as a mouthpiece of her Government.
“Christmas is the most important of Christian festivals and is celebrated so spectacularly by so many.
“The Queen is Supreme Governor of the Church of England and invariably inserts a religious message into the broadcast.”
This Christmas, among the topics touched upon by the Queen, the monarch spoke of the milestones anniversary of the Moon landing and D-Day.
Speaking about the heroic military operation which took place 75 years ago, the Queen recalled her father King George VI’s worried expressions over the outcome of the Ally’s plan to defeat Hitler.
She said: “This year we marked another important anniversary, D-Day.
“On the 6th of June 1944 some 156,000 British, Canadian and American forces landed in northern France.
“It was the largest-ever seaborne invasion and was delayed due to bad weather.
“I well remember the look of concern on my father’s face, he knew the secret D-Day plans but could, of course, share the burden with no-one.
“For the 75th anniversary of that decisive battle, in a true spirit of reconciliation, those who had formerly been sworn enemies came together in friendly commemoration either side of the Channel, putting past differences behind them.”