In a break from tradition the Queen will this year deliver her annual Christmas message from the kitchens of Buckingham Palace while preparing a festive turkey breast stuffed with Italian sausage and marsala-steeped cranberries.
The director of this year’s speech, Fenton Barnes, is confident that the new approach will breathe new life into the format. ‘Sitting down at 3 ‘o’clock to listen to the Queen is a Christmas tradition in many households’ says Barnes. ‘But it’s become a bit stale and we’ve been looking at ways of freshening things up a bit. So look out for lots of long, lingering close-ups of Her Majesty licking salted caramel brandy butter from her fingers while looking suggestively at the camera. There’ll also be a bit more of the royal cleavage on show than usual and the word ‘moist’ will definitely be heard more than in previous years’.
In keeping with tradition the Queen will reflect on the most significant events of the year, making reference to the attacks on Paris and Tunisia and paying tribute to the armed forces while setting fire to a sherry-drenched Christmas pudding.
However, Barnes concedes that filming has not been without its problems. ‘Her Majesty didn’t really know where the kitchens were’ say Barnes. ‘And when we came to do the shot of her popping down to the kitchen at midnight in her nightie to sneak some leftovers from the fridge it felt a bit like when ‘Spinal Tap’ got lost between their dressing room and the stage. It was dawn before we finally found the kitchen by which time 2 of the crew had gone missing and haven’t been seen since’.
Previous attempts to modernise the Queen’s speech have proved difficult, most recently in 2008 when the Queen delivered her message while drawing that week’s lottery numbers. ‘The idea was that the Queen would seem more in touch with the people’ says Barnes. ‘But when she said that it didn’t seem right people being given all that money through sheer luck there was a bit of public backlash’.
Her Majesty is seen deftly slathering goose fat on some King Edwards whilst dressed impractically in a taffeta ballgown and jewel-encrusted crown. There is also gratuitous footage of Prince Andrew clumsily stuffing a bird, while young Harry pulls a cracker. Meanwhile the Queen can be seen in the background downing a crafty glass of champers while munching on a peacocks’ tongues in aspic vol-au-vent.
The short film ends with Prokofiev’s ‘Troika’ playing over a shot of the Royal Family sitting down to a sumptuous Christmas lunch while Prince Philip is heard asking ‘why are we having Christmas lunch in f**king October anyway?’
Harrypalmer (hattip to Squudge)