The Queen will use her Christmas message to pay a rare public tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, praising his “unique sense of humour” in the year of their 70th anniversary.
In her annual address to the nation, the Queen will deliver poignant thanks to the Duke, hailing his valuable support this year and throughout her record-breaking reign.
The Duke stepped down from his official public duties in the autumn, but has remained by his wife’s side for key moments including Remembrance Sunday.
The televised address, pre-recorded and delivered to viewers at 3pm on Christmas Day, will this year be focused on the theme of home.
“We think of our homes as places of warmth, familiarity and love,” the Queen will say. “There is a timeless simplicity to the pull of home.”
Acknowledging terrorist attacks in Britain in 2017, she will go on to observe how the concept of home can extend to a home town or city, saying: “This Christmas, I think of London and Manchester, whose powerful identities shone through over the past twelve months in the face of appalling attacks.”
In a moment of personal reflection, she will voice praise for the Duke’s “support and unique sense of humour.”
Royal commentators regularly underline the importance of humour in the Royal marriage, with the Duke livening up the Queen’s many public engagements with unexpected quips to break the ice.
The Countess of Wessex once said of her in-laws: “They make each other laugh – which is, you know, it’s half the battle, isn’t it?”
With remarks often characterised as “gaffes”, the Duke reportedly aims to make strangers laugh within 15 seconds of their meeting with Royalty.
His sense of humour was evident on Christmas Eve as he attended church, stopping to greet American mother-of-two Heather Hudgins and her three-month-old daughter Abby.
Observing the decorative green bow on the child’s head, he joked: “Is it a baby? I though it was a bunch of flowers.”
The Queen’s words about family, delivered in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace, will be illustrated by photographs on her desk: her 1947 black and white wedding picture, the official photograph to commemorate the 70th anniversary, and portraits of Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
Although the strong bonds of their 70-year marriage are always evident during their public appearances, the Duke is famously reluctant to hear gushing praise or acknowledgement of his achievements.
The Queen has generally reserved her public tributes to him for special occasions.
On their golden wedding anniversary, she hailed him as her “strength and stay”, noting that the family and nation “owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know.”
In 2012, at her Diamond Jubilee, she proclaimed him a “constant strength and guide”, and in 2015 at a speech to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting recognised his “boundless energy and commitment”.
The Queen and Duke will be seen together in public at Sandringham on Christmas Day when they will attend church with senior members of the Royal Family including their four children, the Cambridge family and Prince Harry.
The Prince will be joined for the first time by a partner, as convention is relaxed to allow his fiance Meghan Markle to attend alongside him.
The Queen and Duke both appeared in good spirits and health on Christmas Eve, greeting wellwishers as they attended a carol service at the church.
This year’s Christmas message will be broadcast on television, radio and the Royal Family’s YouTube channel at 3pm on Christmas Day.
The National Anthem and Christmas carol, entitled It Came Upon The Midnight Clear, will be performed by the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir, made up of 52 children representing each nation of the Commonwealth.
The Queen is wearing a dress in ivory white Bouclé designed by Angela Kelly, embellished with Swarovski crystals, and a festive diamond brooch in the shape of a star.
She first wore the dress, with a matching coat and hat, for the Diamond Jubilee Thames River Pageant in 2012.
Article Source : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/25/queen-pay-tribute-prince-philips-unique-sense-humour-christmas/