On this day in history : 23rd December 1992 – A national newspaper publishes the Queen’s speech – scheduled to be aired on BBC television two days later, on Christmas Day….

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Queen’s Speech, 1992 – ‘annus horribilis’ – Image : The BBC – fair use

The source of the leak was never found – but the text for the five minute broadcast, which had been recorded at Sandringham, was spread – virtually word for word – across the centre pages of The Sun…. The newspaper insisted it had done nothing wrong and had come by the story by ‘good old-fashioned techniques’….

“1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure”…. – Her Majesty the Queen….

1992 was a difficult year for the Royal Family…. It was the year of the catastrophic fire at Windsor Castle – and the breakdown of the marriages of both Prince Charles and Prince Andrew…. From the speech came the infamous phrase used by the Queen to describe the year…. “annus horribilis”….

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Image via You Tube

Her Majesty sued The Sun and was awarded £200,000 in damages – which was immediately donated to charity…. In the following years certain changes were made surrounding the annual Christmas Queen’s Speech…. The venue was changed from Sandringham to Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace – and the media received no information as to the speech contents until late on Christmas Eve…. In 1997 the BBC’s monopoly to televising the speech was ended by Buckingham Palace – and became shared on a yearly rotating basis with ITV…. Some believe it was a snub to the BBC – over their interview with Princess Diana in 1995…. Nowadays the Queen’s Speech can even be viewed live on social media….

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