How the Queen's 2020 Christmas speech will make history

By Zach Harper

If you're overwhelmed with Christmas dinner prep on the big day this year, and still want to catch the Queen's Christmas speech but don't really have time to sit down, you're in luck if you have an Amazon Echo. Her Majesty's address will be available on all Amazon Echo devices this year for the first time. You'll also be able to hear it on a Google Home if you have one of those devices.

Anyone with an Amazon Echo speech that operates in British English, American English, Australian English, Canadian English or Indian English can say "Alexa, play the Queen's Christmas Day message" and they'll be able to hear it on Dec. 25.

If you have a Google Home, you can cue up the address by saying "OK, Google: Play BBC Radio 4" at 3 p.m. in your respective time zone.

While the Royal Family is not enjoying its traditional Christmas celebrations at Sandringham this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, Her Majesty will still make a much-anticipated Christmas speech on the big day.

The Queen and Prince Philip are spending their first Christmas since 1987 at Windsor Castle, and will mark the day quietly together. The U.K. government's rules around gatherings from Dec. 23 to 27 make the Sandringham celebration, which involves multiple households gathering at that Norfolk estate, impossible this year.

MORE: Watch the Queen's first televised Christmas speech from 1957

It shouldn't be surprising that smart speakers will carry the Queen's Christmas speech. Her Majesty's annual address has adapted to suit new technologies throughout her reign. The Queen began time on the throne by giving the address via radio, as did her father, King George VI. In the 1950s, she made the jump to giving the speech on television, which was eventually widened to an online broadcast in more recent years.

MORE: The history of the Queen's Christmas speeches

In April, the Queen made a rare address in which she spoke about the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for everyone to do their part with regard to social distancing. There's no question her 2020 Christmas speech will also centre on the coronavirus and the need to carry on with preventative measures as we move toward vaccinating everyone.

A more transmissible variant of the novel coronavirus has been spreading in the U.K. in recent weeks, and prompted some countries to restrict or close travel to and from the country, which also started vaccinating its citizens earlier this month.

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