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The Queen refers to 2019 as a ‘bumpy’ year in Christmas speech

Queen Elizabeth II posing for a photograph after she recorded her annual Christmas Day message, in Windsor Castle, west of London.
Queen Elizabeth II posing for a photograph after she recorded her annual Christmas Day message, in Windsor Castle, west of London.

In this year’s speech, Queen Elizabeth II makes reference to a “bumpy” year but does not further elaborate on her meaning.

While talking about Jesus’ life, she says “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, but small steps can make a world of difference,” the Queen says.

The Queen also urges Brits to overcome “long-held differences” and “deep-seated divisions” following a year “full of pitfalls”. In Jan. 2019, Queen appeared to allude to Brexit — albeit not explicitly — in an address at the Women’s Institute in Sandringham. So, perhaps this year’s annual message could well be a subtle nod to the political divisions that have marked 2019 in the UK.

Speculation, as ever, abounds. The BBC’s royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell proffered the opinion that this year’s address is “a coded message”.

“The obvious interpretation is that this is the Queen’s — as ever — coded message to the country to try to move on from the divisions of the Brexit debate,” writes Witchell. “But the reference to a ‘bumpy’ year may also be taken to refer to events within her own family after a year which has seen the Duke of Edinburgh’s car accident, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex complaining about the difficulties of being in the public eye, and the controversies around Prince Andrew.”

Prince Andrew’s relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein came under scrutiny this year. A car-crash televised interview with Prince Andrew and BBC journalist Emily Maitlis backfired monumentally. Andrew subsequently said he’d be stepping down from royal duties amid the scandal.

The Queen’s annual message will be broadcast on BBC One on Dec. 25 at 3 p.m. GMT.

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