King Charles III delivers his first Christmas message

His Majesty King Charles III delivers his first Christmas and televised message since acceding to the throne in September 2022.

The Christmas message tradition dates back to His Majesty’s Great-Grandfather King George V, who used the then relatively untried medium of radio to make his first Christmas Broadcast from Sandringham in 1932, with words drafted by Rudyard Kipling.

It was the outbreak of war in 1939 which firmly established the Royal Christmas Broadcast. With many now facing an uncertain future, King George VI spoke live to offer a message of reassurance.

Queen Elizabeth II made the first televised Christmas Broadcast in 1957. Over the course of her 70-year, Her Majesty’s Broadcasts chronicled both the life of the nation and of The Monarchy. The Broadcast was one of the rare occasions when The Queen gave her own views on societal changes, as well as often speaking of her own personal Faith.

Members of the Royal Family arrived at St Mary Magdalene Church in Norfolk for a Christmas Day service.

Full text of King Charles III Christmas message:

“I’m standing here in this exquisite chapel of St George at Windsor Castle, so close to where my beloved mother, the late queen, is laid to rest with my dear father.

I am reminded of the deeply touching letters, cards and messages which so many of you have sent my wife and myself.  And I cannot thank you enough for the love and sympathy you have shown our whole family.

Christmas is a particularly poignant time for all of us who have lost loved ones.  We feel their absence at every familiar turn of the season and remember them in each cherished tradition.

In the much-lovedved carol, ‘O little town of Bethlehem,’ we sing of ‘how in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light.’

My mother’s belief in the power of that light was an essential part of her faith in God, but also her faith in people.   And it is one which I share with my whole heart.

It is a belief in the extraordinary ability of each person to touch, with goodness and compassion, the lives of others and to shine a light on the world around them.  This is the essence of our community and the very foundation of our society.

We see it in the selfless dedication of our armed forces and emergency services, who work tirelessly to keep us all safe, and who performed so magnificently as we mourn the passing of our late Queen.

We see it in our health, and social care professionals, our teachers, and indeed all those working in public service whose skills and commitment are at the heart of our communities.

And at this time of great anxiety and hardship, be it for those around the world facing conflict, famine, or natural disaster, or for those at home finding ways to pay their bills and keep their families fed and warm, we see it in the humanity of people throughout our nations and the Commonwealth, who so readily respond to the plight of others.

I particularly want to pay tribute to all those wonderfully kind people who so generously give food or donations or that most precious commodity of all, their time, to support those around them in greatest need, together with the many charitable organisations which do such extraordinary work in the most difficult circumstances.

Our churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and gurdwaras have once again united in feeding the hungry, providing love and support throughout the year.  Such heartfelt solidarity is the most inspiring expression of loving our neighbour as ourself.

The Prince and Princess of Wales recently visited Wales, shining a light on practical examples of this community spirit.

Some years ago, I was able to fulfil a lifelong wish to visit Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity.  There I went down into the chapel of the manger and stood in silent reverence by the Silver Star that is inlaid on the floor and marks the place of our Lord Jesus Christ’s birth.

It meant more to me than I can possibly express to stand on that spot where, as the Bible tells us, the light that has come into the world was born. 

While Christmas is, of course, a Christian celebration, the power of light overcoming darkness is celebrated across the boundaries of faith and belief.  So whatever faith you have or whether you have none, it is in this life-giving light and with the true humility that lies in our service to others that I believe we can find hope for the future.

Let us, therefore, celebrate it together and cherish it always.

With all my heart, I wish each of you a Christmas of peace, happiness and everlasting light.

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