Every year like clockwork, the Queen gives an address to the nation on Christmas Day, discussing her thoughts, concerns and reflections on the year, and hopes for the year ahead.
But even more than her words themselves, this year the Queen's speech has been dissected for an entirely different reason: the pictures she sits next to as she delivers her message.
In an image released by the @kensingtonroyal Instagram account ahead of the 2019 Christmas Day broadcast, the Queen sits behind a large lacquered table in a blue dress. On the table, she has chosen to display an image of her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, her father, King George VI from 1944, plus one of Charles and Camilla. The final framed picture is Prince William and Kate's family snap, which they've used on their official Christmas card this year.
But in the Instagram comments underneath the picture royal fans have been quick to note the absence of a photograph of Prince Charles's second son, asking: why is there no snap of Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and adorable baby Archie?
In their own Christmas snap, released on 23rd December, Prince Harry and Meghan sit in the background next to a sparkling Christmas tree, as little Archie leans into the foreground.
Just sharing the sweetest Christmas Card from our President and Vice-President, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Very Merry Christmas, everyone! pic.twitter.com/McOcHALoGl— The Queen's Commonwealth Trust (@queenscomtrust) December 23, 2019
Questioning the absence of the image on the Queen's desk, one Instagram user asked: "No Harry, Megan and Archie???" while another said, "One picture missing on the table guys...".
But there's likely a perfectly logical explanation. The pictures on display are all of the Queen's heirs - and the selection is likely to represent the idea of a slimmed-down monarchy going forward into the next generation. The next monarch will be Prince Charles, followed by Prince William, and then Prince George. As Charles's second son and sixth in line to the throne, Prince Harry will likely never reign.
And as the Daily Mail's royal correspondent Rebecca English has noted, the Prince William and Kate Middleton's role within the Royal Family is also developing, giving them more seniority than ever before. "William, in particular, [is] growing closer to his grandmother, grandfather and father," the royal expert wrote.
"This stepping up in the family pecking order is crucial, given the increasing frailness of his grandfather Prince Philip, 98 — now living a solitary life at Sandringham — which has left the Queen needing the support of her heirs more than ever before."
So yeah. No shade here, just a perfectly reasonable explanation.
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