King Charles to deliver Christmas speech with living tree as backdrop for first time

The tree's sustainable decorations reflect his passion for environmental issues

King Charles delivering his Christmas address from Buckingham Palace, with the Queen Victoria Memorial behind him. PA
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The King will deliver the second Christmas message of his reign from a Buckingham Palace room decorated with a living Christmas tree.

It is the first time a living tree has been used as part of the backdrop for the 75-year-old monarch’s annual festive address to the UK and Commonwealth.

The King is a long-term environmental campaigner who delivered a speech at the recent Cop28 UN Climate Change summit, and the tree will be replanted after the broadcast.

Charles, like his late mother Queen Elizabeth, writes his Christmas broadcasts and has followed her well-established template of a personal reflection on the year, touching on current issues and with a Christian theme.

Last year he used his first Christmas broadcast to praise the “wonderfully kind people” who have supported those struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

From the branches of the tree hang natural and sustainable decorations including hand-turned wood, dried oranges, glass baubles, pine cones and paper.

Charles' message, due to be broadcast at 3pm on Christmas Day, is again delivered standing, and this year's location is the Buckingham Palace room that leads on to the royal residence's iconic balcony.

Members of the royal family have gathered in the Centre Room ahead of historic balcony appearances including following Charles' coronation and for Trooping the Colour celebrations.

In the background can be seen the Queen Victoria Memorial, which was planned by King Edward VII as a tribute to his mother and her reign and was unveiled in 1911, a year after his death, by his son, King George V.

Resting on a table to the King's right is a potpourri bowl with gilt metal cover believed to have been acquired by George IV.

The circular tazza-shaped bowl of Japanese lacquered wood with gilt bronze mounts is held by the Royal Collection Trust.

Updated: December 23, 2023, 10:39 PM