THE QUEEN will pay tribute in her Christmas broadcast to the nation’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes for inspiring all those who watched their achievements.
The monarch will hail the “splendid summer of sport” and highlight how the sportsmen and women gave the spectators the chance to feel part of the “excitement and drama”.
For the first time the national address will be broadcast in 3D, a technological advance the Queen was happy to embrace.
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman outlined the themes of the message: “The Queen’s broadcast this year focuses on service, achievement and the spirit of togetherness.”
During the address, which will be broadcast in full on Christmas Day, the Queen will say: “As London hosted a splendid summer of sport, all those who saw the achievement and courage at the Olympic and Paralympic Games were further inspired by the skill, dedication, training and teamwork of our athletes.
“In pursuing their own sporting goals, they gave the rest of us the opportunity to share something of the excitement and drama.”
Behind the scenes footage of the broadcast, made on 7 December, has been released today.
The Queen is shown meeting senior staff from Sky News, which produced this year’s Christmas message.
In other footage, the monarch wears 3D glasses as she watches part of the broadcast. They are decorated on each side with the letter Q made from Swarovski crystals.
The message was recorded in Buckingham Palace’s white drawing room and the Queen is dressed in a fine silk tulle gown by Angela Kelly – an outfit she first wore during the summer thanksgiving service that marked the Diamond Jubilee.
The Christmas address is written by the Queen and usually has a strong religious framework, reflects current issues and draws on her own experiences over the past year.
The speech is one of the rare occasions when she does not turn to the government for advice but is able to voice her own views.
The Queen has watched her 3D Christmas message and enjoyed the experience.
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said the monarch thought the broadcast was “absolutely lovely”.
She added: “We wanted to do something a bit different and special in this Jubilee year, so doing it for the first time in 3D seemed a good thing, technology-wise, to do.
“The Queen absolutely agreed straight away there was no need for convincing at all, she was absolutely ready to embrace something new in this year.”
The message will be transmitted on both television and radio at 3pm on Christmas Day.
It will be available on the Royal Channel on the YouTube website and will also be shown in Commonwealth countries.
The broadcast will also be screened in standard and high definition.
Prime Minister David Cameron struck an overtly religious tone in his Christmas message to the nation – quoting the Bible in an appeal for people to remember the armed forces and emergency services amid the festivities.
He said Britain “showed the world what we’re made of” in 2012 thanks to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and Team GB’s astounding medal haul.
But he said the end of the year was also a time to focus on the Christian message and said he would pray for everyone to have a happy and peaceful time “however you celebrate this time of year”.
In a speech last year, Mr Cameron said that the values of the Bible “go to the heart” of what it means to be British – though he admitted he was no more than a “vaguely practising” Christian “full of doubts” about theological issues.
During a rare foray into religion, he used the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible to urge the Church of England to lead a revival of traditional Christian values to counter the country’s “moral collapse”.
“Christmas gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect on the important things around us – a time when we can look back on the year that has passed and prepare for the year ahead,” Mr Cameron said.
“2012 has been an extraordinary year for our country. We cheered our Queen to the rafters with the Jubilee, showed the world what we’re made of by staging the most spectacular Olympic and Paralympic Games ever and – let’s not forget – punched way above our weight in the medals table.”
“But Christmas also gives us the opportunity to remember the Christmas story – the story about the birth of Jesus Christ and the hope that he brings to the countless millions who follow him,” he went on.
“The Gospel of John tells us that in this man was life, and that his life was the light of all mankind, and that he came with grace, truth and love. Indeed, God’s word reminds us that Jesus was the prince of peace.”
The Queen’s grandfather, King George V, delivered the first royal Christmas broadcast live on the radio from Sandringham more than 75 years ago.
He had reigned since 1910, but it was not until 1932 that he gave his first festive speech.
He was unsure about using the relatively untried medium of the wireless, but eventually agreed and read a message composed by author Rudyard Kipling.
The Queen made her first Christmas broadcast in 1952 and her first televised Christmas broadcast in 1957, live from Sandringham.
She has delivered one every year except for 1969, when she decided the royals had been on TV enough that year following an unprecedented documentary the family made about their life.