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Queen to pay tribute to athletes in Christmas message

Queen Elizabeth II with producer John McAndrew and director John Bennett (right), in the White Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace as they watch the recording of her Christmas message. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire Queen Elizabeth II with producer John McAndrew and director John Bennett (right), in the White Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace as they watch the recording of her Christmas message. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Monday, December 24, 2012
6:38 AM

The Queen will hail the achievements of Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes in her Christmas broadcast to the nation.

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Queen Elizabeth II records her Christmas message. Picture: John Stillwell/PA WireQueen Elizabeth II records her Christmas message. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Wire

She will speak about the “splendid summer of sport” and highlight how the sportsmen and women gave spectators the chance to feel part of the “excitement and drama”.

For the first time the national address will be broadcast in 3D, a technological advance the Queen was happy to embrace.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “The Queen’s broadcast this year focuses on service, achievement and the spirit of togetherness.”

During the address, which will be broadcast in full on Christmas Day, the Queen will say: “As London hosted a splendid summer of sport, all those who saw the achievement and courage at the Olympic and Paralympic Games were further inspired by the skill, dedication, training and teamwork of our athletes.

“In pursuing their own sporting goals, they gave the rest of us the opportunity to share something of the excitement and drama.”

Behind the scenes footage of the broadcast, made on December 7, has also been released today.

The Queen is shown meeting senior staff from Sky News, which produced this year’s Christmas message.

And in other footage the monarch wears 3D glasses as she watches part of the broadcast.

They are decorated on each side with the letter Q made from Swarovski crystals and were worn by the Queen during a visit to a movie training centre in Toronto in 2010.

The message was recorded in Buckingham Palace’s white drawing room and the Queen is dressed in a fine silk tulle gown by Angela Kelly - an outfit she first wore during the summer thanksgiving service that marked the Diamond Jubilee.

On her shoulder is the Duchess of Cambridge’s pendant brooch that once belonged to Queen Mary’s grandmother, Princess Augusta.

The Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said the monarch thought the broadcast was “absolutely lovely”.

She added: “We wanted to do something a bit different and special in this Jubilee year, so doing it for the first time in 3D seemed a good thing, technology-wise, to do.

“The Queen absolutely agreed straight away there was no need for convincing at all, she was absolutely ready to embrace something new in this year.”

The message will be transmitted on both television and radio at 3pm on Christmas Day.

It will be available on the Royal Channel on the YouTube website and will also be shown in Commonwealth countries.

The broadcast will also be screened in standard and high definition.

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