King Charles to deliver powerful message about the environment in Christmas Day speech

24 December 2023, 13:56 | Updated: 24 December 2023, 14:08

King Charles will deliver the speech in front of a live Christmas tree so it can be replanted.
King Charles will deliver the speech in front of a live Christmas tree so it can be replanted. Picture: Getty

By Jenny Medlicott

The King is expected to deliver a powerful message about the environment in his Christmas Day broadcast.

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It comes after the King called on world leaders to unite to tackle climate change at COP28 earlier this month, as he warned the “Earth does not belong to us”.

It will be the King’s second Christmas broadcast to the nation after he made the first at St George’s Chapel in Windsor last year following the death of the late Queen.

The speech, which was filmed earlier this month in Buckingham Palace, will feature Charles standing in front of a live, potted Christmas tree and will be replanted after the festive season.

Traditionally the monarch stands in front of a cut-down tree in the Christmas broadcast, marking the King's departure from tradition in favour of an eco-friendly alternative.

The tree is adorned with environmentally friendly decorations, made either from recycled material or using plants, including wooden bells, dried orange slices, brown glass baubles and pine cones.

While the exact contents of the King’s speech remain under wraps, he is expected to make the environment its ‘key’ theme, while also addressing broader themes.

It is understood the King wrote the 10-minute speech himself, without the help of advisers.

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The King is set to make the speech environment-focused.
The King is set to make the speech environment-focused. Picture: Getty

Former Tory Cabinet Minister David Jones welcomed the King’s planned focus on the environment.

He said: “The King was a champion of all things green way before it was fashionable.

“This may mark a change of style from his mother, the late Queen, but I don’t think anyone would begrudge making such an environmental gesture as part of his Christmas message. In fact, I believe many people will welcome it.”

Mike Childs, head of policy at the environmental charity Friends of the Earth, said: “The King has been a long-term champion of the environment, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he used his speech to help raise awareness of the urgent need to live more sustainably.

“With the world facing both a nature and climate crisis, we need everyone – especially our politicians – to do more to help safeguard our planet.”

Earlier this month King Charles addressed 167 world leaders at COP28 in Dubai where he warned leaders “the hope of the world rests on the decisions you must take”.

The King’s speech will be broadcast at 3pm local time on Christmas Day.