King Charles Goes Almost Political in His First Christmas Speech

King Charles III made his first televised Christmas address to the British people Sunday, paying fulsome tribute to his late mother, and thanking the public for their messages of condolence.

The king raised eyebrows by praising emergency and health workers, many of whom are striking for higher wages, as well as praising those who donate to and run food banks, which have become an increasing feature of British life in recent years as a cost-of-living crisis has taken hold.

He devoted considerable attention in the message to people struggling to pay their bills, sympathizing with the “great anxiety and hardship” people were enduring as they worked to “keep their families fed and warm,” while footage of aid parcels being handed out at food banks played.

Neither Prince Andrew, who made a surprise appearance at church in Sandringham this morning, nor Harry and Meghan got a mention, but William and Kate were prominently mentioned and clips of them in action on royal visits were spliced into the king’s speech. The king’s address was made in St. George’s chapel in Windsor, where his mother is interred.

His sister, Anne, his brother Edward, and Edward’s wife, Sophie, were also featured in video clips recapping the royal year.

Reflecting on his mother’s death, Charles said: “Christmas is a particularly poignant time for all of us who have lost loved ones. We feel their absence at every familiar turn of the season and remember them in each cherished tradition.”

He went on to praise the “selfless dedication” of the “emergency services” and “health and social care professionals, our teachers and indeed all those working in public service, whose skill and commitment are at the heart of our communities.”

Many of these groups of workers are involved in high-profile strikes as they seek higher wages from the government to combat rampant inflation.

Charles firmly sought to paint himself as sympathetic to the poor, speaking of the “great anxiety and hardship” faced not just by those “around the world facing conflict, famine or natural disaster,” but also “for those at home finding ways to pay their bills and keep their families fed and warm.”

While not a direct criticism of government policy, it was a speech tinged with political emphasis more direct than anything his mother ever said, especially when Charles added: “I particularly want to pay tribute to all those wonderfully kind people who so generously give food or donations, or that most precious commodity of all, their time, to support those around them in greatest need, together with the many charitable organisations which do such extraordinary work in the most difficult circumstances.

“Our churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and gurdwaras, have once again united in feeding the hungry, providing love and support throughout the year. Such heartfelt solidarity is the most inspiring expression of loving our neighbour as our self.”

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