Queen’s Christmas broadcasts subject of lecture

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The Queen’s first 60 Christmas broadcasts will be the subject of this year’s lecture series by Canon Dr Anthony Cane, Chancellor of Chichester Cathedral.

Entitled The Queen’s Speech, the lectures will be in the Cathedral Nave on Tuesdays April 17 and 24 and May 1 and 8 at 6.30pm (after Evensong).

The lectures are free of charge and all are welcome.

On Christmas Day 2011, the Queen used her annual Christmas Day broadcast to speak of courage and hope in adversity.

She noted the resilience of communities in New Zealand after earthquakes, Australia after flooding and Wales after the mining disaster at Gleision Colliery.

The Queen linked this theme to her Christian faith: “Finding hope in adversity is one of the themes of Christmas,” she said. “Jesus was born into a world full of fear. The angels came to frightened shepherds with hope in their voices: ‘Fear not’, they urged, ‘we bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.’”

Anthony said the Queen has spoken like this for so long that we are in danger of taking it for granted, forgetting how unusual it is for a public figure to speak of world events in the light of a personal Christian faith.

Inspired by this year’s Golden Jubilee, Anthony will look back at the broadcasts over the decades. Together they emerge as a fascinating social history.

Among the themes Anthony intends to follow through is science and technology. In the very early days of the royal Christmas message, in the 1930s under George V, there was a very clear sense of the wonder of wireless, allowing the King to speak to the world.

Also interesting is the sense of the Queen herself that you get. From 1968, she and Prince Philip have jointly worked on the script. But even when the script was being written for her, the Queen was adamant that she would not say something she was not happy with saying.

“I don’t have any inside track, but in terms of reading, it is widely acknowledged that the Queen is not an actor. She is incapable of saying something that she is not happy with.”

Further information on 01243 782595 or see www.chichestercathedral.org.uk.