The Queen has chosen a treasured snap of herself with her late husband to take pride of place during this year’s Christmas speech.
The lone photo, which sits on her desk as she gives her annual message, shows the monarch and Prince Philip on their 60th wedding anniversary in 2007.
The picture shows the couple gazing lovingly at each other. It was taken in Hampshire, and was a recreation of a shot from the couple’s honeymoon in 1947.
It is the Queen’s first Christmas without her husband of 73 years, after the Duke of Edinburgh died in April. She is expected to pay a heartfelt tribute to her husband in this year’s message, which has been pre-recorded and will screen on Christmas Day.
A senior palace source has told Britain’s Mirror newspaper the speech would be “a particularly personal one this year, as the monarch prepares to spend her first festive period since the death of the Duke of Edinburgh”.
In an official shot released on Friday, the 95-year-old Queen wears the same sapphire chrysanthemum brooch she wore in both photographs with Philip.
The lone family snap is almost a repeat of her 2020 backdrop, which was a single shot of her husband.
Family photos are a common backdrop for the monarch’s annual message. In 2019, she appeared with a photo of Philip, one of her father, another of eldest son, Prince Charles, and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and one of grandson Prince William and his family. Much was made at the time of the lack of a picture of William’s younger brother Harry and his wife Meghan Markle.
The annual message from the Queen was filmed at Windsor Castle, where she will spend Christmas after cancelling plans to head to Sandringham due to the COVID crisis sweeping Britain.
A royal source said the Queen would be visited by members of the royal family – including eldest son Charles and his wife Camilla – over the Christmas period.
But daughter Anne will not be there. She is in COVID isolation after her husband, Sir Tim Laurence, tested positive for the virus.
The Queen normally hosts her large family at Sandringham in Norfolk over the holidays, and they are watched by crowds as they attend church on December 25.
But as coronavirus cases increase rapidly across Britain amid the rise of the Omicron variant, the Queen plans to remain at Windsor Castle and will not attend a public church service on Christmas Day.
The royal source added sensible precautions would be taken by those who visited her.
Earlier in December, the Queen cancelled the traditional pre-Christmas lunch with her extended family.
She has spent much of this year at Windsor Castle, where she and Philip remained while shielding throughout the lockdowns.
In October, the Queen spent a night in hospital, and was subsequently ordered by doctors to rest.
The monarch also sprained her back and was advised to pull out of attending several events, including the Remembrance Sunday service.