Isle of Man issued a set of six stamps to commemorate the Queen’s reign. Each year one of the themes of the Christmas message to the Nation and the Commonwealth is a reflection of events during the year, we are pleased to include extracts from some of the broadcasts.
58 Pence Stamp
This photograph of the Queen was taken when she attended a film premiere in 1955. That year her Christmas Message, broadcast live from her study at Sandringham, focused on the Commonwealth. She said: ‘Great opportunities lie before us. Indeed a large part of the world looks to the Commonwealth for a lead. We have already gone far towards discovering for ourselves how different nations, from North and South, from East and West, can live together in friendly brotherhood, pooling the resources of each for the benefit of all. Every one of us can also help in this great adventure, for just as the Commonwealth is made up of different nations, so those nations are made up of individuals. The greater the enterprise the more important our personal contribution.’
When this official photograph was taken of the Queen in 1968, she had already visited Brazil and Chile. It was the year in which civil rights leader Martin Luther King was shot dead in Memphis and the Queen focused her Christmas broadcast from Buckingham Palace on the theme of brotherhood. She said: ‘Christmas is a Christian festival, which celebrates the birth of the Prince of Peace. At times it is almost hidden by the merry making and tinsel, but the essential message of Christmas is still that we all belong to the great brotherhood of man. This idea is not limited to the Christian faith. Philosophers and prophets have concluded that peace is better than war, love is better than hate and that mankind can only find progress in friendship and co-operation. Many ideas are being questioned today, but these great truths will continue to shine out as the light of hope in the darkness of intolerance and inhumanity.’
38 Pence Stamp
Taken in 1979, the international Year of the Child, when thousands of refugees fled the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, this picture features the Queen on horseback during the Trooping of the Colour. That year she visited Tanzania, Malawi, Botswana and Zambia. In her Christmas message she said: ‘This year people all over the world have been asked to give particular thought to the special needs of sick and handicapped children, to the hungry and homeless and to those in trouble or distress wherever they may be found. It is an unhappy coincidence that political and economic forces have made this an exceptionally difficult and tragic year for many families and children in several parts of the world – but particularly in South East Asia. The situation has created a desperately serious challenge and I am glad to know that so many people of the Commonwealth have responded with wonderful generosity and kindness.’
68 Pence Stamp
In 1982, the year of the Falklands War, the Queen undertook two Commonwealth tours – of Canada and Australia and the Pacific. She is photographed here in Tuvalu where she and Prince Philip were borne aloft in ceremonial litters. That year her Christmas message marked the 50th anniversary of the first yuletide broadcast and was filmed for the first time in the library at Windsor Castle. She said: ‘The poet John Donne said: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” That is the message of the Commonwealth and it is also the Christian message. Christ attached supreme importance to the individual and he amazed the world in which he lived by making it clear that the unfortunate and the underprivileged had an equal place in the Kingdom of Heaven with the rich and powerful. But he also taught that man must do his best to live in harmony with man and to love his neighbours.’
37 Pence Stamp
This portrait was taken by photographer Terry O’Neill in 1990, the year that the Queen celebrated her mother’s 90th birthday and the christening of her youngest grandchild. But the threat of war in the Gulf dominated her Christmas message as she paid tribute to servicemen around the world. She said: ‘I want, therefore, to say thank you today to the men and women who, day in and day out, carry on their daily life in difficult and dangerous circumstances. By just getting on with the job, they are getting the better of those who want to harm our way of life. Let us think of them this Christmas, wherever they are in the world, and pray that their resolution remains undiminished. It is they and their kind who, by resisting the bully and the tyrant, ensure that we live in the sort of world in which we can celebrate this season safely with our families.’
The Queen stayed closer to home in 2008 – the year her son, Prince Charles, celebrated his 60th birthday – visiting Slovenia and Slovakia. She is photographed at the Derby at Epsom racecourse that summer, one of her favourite events of the season. That year her Christmas message was reflective.