Queen stresses importance of family in Christmas Message
The Queen will stress the importance of the family during the economic downturn in her Christmas Message which will include rare film footage of Prince Charles as a baby.
By Andrew Pierce
Last Updated: 12:08AM GMT 24 Dec 2008

The broadcast has been filmed in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace. Photo: PA
In the broadcast, filmed in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace, the Queen highlights the support she and the Duke of Edinburgh receive from their own children and grandchildren.

The point is underlined by photographs on a grand piano behind the Queen of Prince William and Prince Harry in their Army uniform, next to one of the Prince of Wales in his flying gear when he was in the Royal Navy. There is also a photograph of the Duke of Edinburgh and a black and white one of the Queen and Duke with their children.

The broadcast, set against the backdrop of one of the severest recessions of the Queen's reign, comes after she privately urged the Royal Family to respect the difficult times the country faces by avoiding overt displays of extravagance. In her address the Queen acknowledges that many of her subjects have been hit hard by the economic slump.

The broadcast will feature never before-seen private footage of the then Princess Elizabeth, aged 23, and Prince Charles in a drawing room at Clarence House in 1949 when he was one-year-old.

Princess Elizabeth and the Duke lived at Clarence House after their marriage in 1947 until she succeeded to the throne in 1952. Clarence House then became the home of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and is now the official London residence of the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.

The black and white cine film is part of the Royal Family's own personal archive which is kept in the vaults of the British Film Institute. The Queen, who approved the film sequence for the Christmas Message, had not seen it for years.

When the film begins the credits, which will not be seen in the television broadcast, state: "Produced By: HRH Princess Elizabeth; CAST: HRH Prince Charles, HRH Princess Elizabeth; Photography: Graham Thompson

Gowns: Nannie; Make up and effects: Boyoh Brownovich. The future Queen dictated the cast list.

The nanny who chose the gown for the Prince was Helen Lightbody, who worked with him until two weeks before his eighth birthday. Miss Lightbody, who was nicknamed 'No Nonsense' Lightbody, never uttered a word about her experiences and retired to a grace-and-favour apartment owned by the Duchy of Cornwall. She died aged 79 in 1987.

The film footage is warm and extremely personal and underlines one of the themes of the Queen's message about the importance of the family in difficult times. The Queen will spend Christmas with her immediate family at Sandringham, her Norfolk residence.

The Queen also pays tribute to the unselfish work of the voluntary services at home and abroad and to the role of Armed Forces especially those involved in active service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Prince Harry became the first member of the Royal Family since the Duke of York in the Falklands in 1982 to serve on the front line when he went on secret assignment in Afghanistan for 10 weeks. The Queen, who is head of the Armed Forces, gave her approval for third in line to the throne to go to Afghanistan.

The Prince of Wales, who celebrated his 60th birthday in November, is also singled out by his mother who pays tribute to his lifetime of public service.

The broadcast, produced by the BBC, will be transmitted at 3pm on television and radio on Christmas Day and will also be available on the Royal Channel on the YouTube website from the same time.