Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II will acknowledge that 2019 has been a “quite bumpy” year for the nation in her traditional Christmas address, which was pre-recorded at Windsor Castle.
Although it is not clear precisely what the queen is referring to as being “bumpy,” she uses the phrase in the context of overcoming “long-held differences and deep-seated divisions” laid bare in a year dominated by intense disagreements over Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Citing the example of Jesus, the 93-year-old monarch will call for “small steps taken in faith” to help overcome national differences which “may at times this year have felt quite bumpy.”
It’s also possible the Queen may be referring to the bumpy year endured by the Royal Family itself, which was hit by a string of controversies.
The most serious of those involved a friendship between her son, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, and the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. After giving a much-criticized BBC interview in which he denied having sex with an underage girl provided by Epstein and showed little contrition, he was forced to step down from royal duties.
The Queen also was also embarrassed politically in September when Prime Minister Boris Johnson was accused of manipulating her into granting his request to suspend Parliament against its will with a Brexit deadline looming — a move that was later ruled unconstitutional by Britain’s Supreme Court.
In the address, the Queen will mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day landings, which she also uses as a call for healing differences.
Noting that former World War II “sworn enemies” this year “came together in friendly commemorations either side of the channel,” the Queen said that “by being willing to put past differences behind us and move forward together, we honor the freedom and democracy once won for us at so great a cost.”