From bling to blue: A look back at some of the Queen’s Christmas Message outfits through the decades

From the first televised broadcast in 1957, to last year’s Regency Room speech, here are 9 of Her Majesty’s most notable ensembles.

While Duchess Kate and Meghan Markle might frequently make the headlines for their fashion triumphs, when it comes to being a royal style icon, there’s another prominent figure who shouldn’t be forgotten.

The Queen might not quite be causing brands to sell out of items within hours of her being photographed in them – as Kate and Meghan often do –  but she’s certainly no sartorial slouch.

And as December 25 approaches, what better way to celebrate her outfits over the years, than with a look back at some of the outfits she’s worn for delivering her Christmas Message?

Here are nine of the Queen’s Christmas speech outfits from throughout the decades…


First Televised Queen’s Speech – Sandringham - 1957 (PA)

First Televised Queen’s Speech – Sandringham – 1957

Elizabeth ascended the throne when she was 25, so at 31, the 1957 Christmas speech was by no means her first. However, this one was special as it was the first time a speech from a monarch had ever been televised, which at the time was, understandably, pretty huge.

This was still the Fifties, though, so the footage was in black and white – but we can tell you that her dress was actually gold lamé, a suitably festive choice.

The broadcast was carried by both the BBC and ITV, and was even more notable in that it was the 25th anniversary of the first radio message to the Commonwealth by her grandfather, King George V.


Royalty – Queen’s Christmas Speech – 1978 (PA)

Royalty – Queen’s Christmas Speech – 1978

Fast-forward nearly two decades, and by the late-Seventies, the Queen was now a pro at the annual television broadcast.

Unfortunately, we saw no more gold lamé – instead, high-necked, long-sleeved dresses, typically accompanied by strings of pearls and a brooch, became a Christmas Message regular.

Although these images are black and white, the Christmas speech was actually first televised in colour in 1967. In this picture, Elizabeth is sitting next to the original microphones King George V used for the first Christmas Day radio broadcast way back in 1932.


Royalty – Queen’s Christmas Speech – 1987 (PA)

Royalty – Queen’s Christmas Speech – 1987

If you’re familiar with the Queen’s fashion choices, you’ll know that patterns aren’t really something she often turns to. That’s what makes this 1987 Christmas outfit so unusual, because she opted to experiment with prints (although, she obviously is not without her trusty pearls and brooch).

This broadcast also marked the second year running that Sir David Attenborough was producer.


Royal Queen’s Christmas Message 1999 (Fiona Hanson/PA)

Royal Queen’s Christmas Message 1999

In 1999, Elizabeth went for a particularly regal shade of blue – and no prizes for guessing what jewellery she decided to accessorise with.

In this picture, you can also see the huge ring on her finger – this is the square-cut diamond and platinum engagement ring that Prince Philip gave her back in 1947. It was made using stones from a tiara that had belonged to Philip’s mother, and is a pretty timeless piece of jewellery.


Queen Christmas Message 2014 (Fiona Hanson/PA)

Queen Christmas Message 2014

Relatively speaking, 2004 wasn’t a particularly momentous year. However, the Queen’s purple marbled outfit for that year’s Christmas Message was particularly unique, so it’s worth including in the list.

If you look closely, you can even see tiny silver statues of her beloved corgis on the table next to her.


Queen’s Christmas Day speech 2007 (Steve Parsons/PA)

Queen’s Christmas Day speech 2007

Most years, the Queen likes to alternate which Buckingham Palace room she delivers her speech from. In 2007, she chose what is known as the 1844 Room.

This was a momentous broadcast because it marked the 50th anniversary of her first televised Christmas Message. In the background of this photo, you can see a still from the first broadcast; we like to think her choice of lemon dress is a grown-up homage to the gold frock she wore in 1957.


Queen’s Christmas broadcast 2010 (John Stillwell/PA)

Queen’s Christmas broadcast 2010

2010 was an unusual year because the Queen didn’t, in fact, broadcast her Christmas Message from Buckingham Palace.

Instead, she delivered her speech from The Chapel Royal at Hampton Court Palace. We imagine it was a little chilly there, judging by her purple coat – a very regal choice, however (and we can’t help wondering whether her favourite Quality Street chocs are ‘the purple ones’…).


Queen’s Christmas broadcast 2012 (John Stillwell/PA)

Queen’s Christmas broadcast 2012

You might not know it, but the Queen likes to keep abreast of cutting-edge technology. In 2012, she broadcast her Christmas Message in 3D for the first time.

In this picture, you can see her watching the recording in the White Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace, alongside producer John McAndrew and director John Bennett, sporting some fetching 3D glasses – a cool contrast next to her shimmery white dress.


Queen’s Christmas Broadcast 2016 (Yui Mok/PA)

Queen’s Christmas Broadcast 2016

For last year’s Christmas Message, the Queen was back on familiar ground. Not only was she in the much-used Regency Room in Buckingham Palace, but she was also wearing a blue outfit – one of her favourite colours.

We can only guess what colour the Queen will wear for her 2017 Christmas Message, but there is one thing we’d be willing to bet on… whatever she wears, those trademark pearls and beloved brooch will take pride of place.

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28th Feb 2018
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Such an erudite and elegant woman.

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