Many of us have long suspected that the Queen's Christmas broadcast is compiled like Lego bricks, with the same phrases combined into a new order each year, along with a few important events from the preceding 12 months. Here is the proof. A late draft of the speech has come into our hands and, as you can see, the standard phrases (taken either from broadcasts in previous years or from the Queen's speech at the Imperial War Museum this year) have been duly recombined. But something has gone wrong, and the draft, though it makes a sort of sense, is surely not what Her Majesty would wish to say.
New Statesman readers have been asked to help. To make a proper, serious Christmas broadcast, you have to cut out each phrase - separated by red bullet points l - and then recombine it with the others into a more coherent order. All phrases must be used, but none more than once. The prepositions, pronouns, etc, shown in lower case may be used as often as you need, as may those listed at the foot of the facing page.
The best attempt wins a magnum of Delamotte Brut champagne from Corney & Barrow. Send entries to reach us by Monday 5 January at:
New Statesman (Queen's Christmas Broadcast),
52 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W 0AU.
EVERY YEAR - AT THIS TIME - ALL THE MAJOR FAITHS - CELEBRATE - THE BIRTH - OF OUR SEVENTH GRANDCHILD. - IT IS TRADITIONALLY A TIME - for - INTOLERANCE - BIGOTRY - and - VIOLENCE.
THROUGHOUT MY REIGN - I HAVE WATCHED - PASSIONATE - WOMEN - RUINED - by the - ENGLISH RUGBY TEAM. - THIS IS AN IMPORTANT LESSON FOR US ALL.
THIS YEAR - IRAQ - FORGES FRIENDSHIPS - and - REMAINS A POWERFUL SYMBOL OF HOPE - FOR A BETTER FUTURE - and a - DYNAMIC COMMERCIAL SPIRIT. - CIVIL DISTURBANCE - THAT WE SHARE WITH - OUR EUROPEAN NEIGHBOURS - CELEBRATES - THE FOUNDER OF OUR FAITH.
ON LAND - I OPENED THE - WOMEN AND WAR EXHIBITION - FOR INNOCENT PEOPLE - WHOSE LIVES ARE - DISRUPTED - by - FAMILY REUNIONS - WHICH LAST A LIFETIME.
THIS IS NOT - SYMBOLIC OF THE PROCESS OF PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY - WHICH WE ENJOY - IN NOVEMBER.
JUST A FEW YEARS AGO - PRINCE HARRY - DID NOT THINK - OF THE COMMONWEALTH - IN OCTOBER - or of the - ESPRIT DE CORPS - THAT FLOURISHES - AMONG THE NATIONS.
ANOTHER OF MY GRANDCHILDREN - HAS FOR MANY YEARS - ENJOYED A SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP - with a - SECOND SUBALTERN IN THE ATS. - THEY DID NOT HAVE AN EASY TASK - with - THE OTHER - AND THEY NEEDED ALL THE MORAL SUPPORT WE COULD GIVE THEM. - REBIRTH AND RENEWAL - ENSURED SHE WAS ABLE TO LEAVE - with - HOPE - and - A CHANCE TO REFLECT - on the - WIDER RESPONSIBILITIES - of - HER FUTURE.
I OPENED - THE COMMONWEALTH HEADS OF GOVERNMENT MEETING - IN BETHLEHEM - SO LONG AGO. - ONE OF THESE COUNTRIES - HAS SEEN THE DEVELOPMENT OF DEMOCRACY AND PROSPERITY - AT THE IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM. - IT WAS A JOY TO RENEW OLD FRIENDSHIPS - WITH OUR OWN - PARLIAMENT.
AS THE OLD YEAR PASSES LET US - GIVE SUPPORT AND HOPE - to - MANY RELATED ORGANISATIONS - I LAST VISITED - THIS FESTIVE SEASON.
THIS YEAR THERE WERE STATE VISITS TO THIS COUNTRY - from - THREE SERVICES. - VISITS FROM - the - HEALTHY CHILD - ARE MUCH IN OUR THOUGHTS. - IT IS A PROCESS WHICH SEEKS TO EXPRESS THE IDEAL - of - THE PRESIDENTS - SAFE AT HOME.
LET US SET OUT TO WORK - ALONG WITH - OTHERS IN DISTRESS - DEMANDING - THE BLENDING OF TRADITION. - POSSIBILITIES OF - EQUALITY OF ALL CITIZENS UNDER THE LAW - in - ALL - COUNTRIES - CLAIM VICTORY - THIS YEAR.
I BEGAN TO UNDERSTAND - BELGIUM - in the - PAST TWELVE MONTHS - A COUNTRY WHICH l ONLY RECENTLY - WAS COMMUNIST-GOVERNED. - And in the - FACE OF ADVERSITY - IN DISTANT LANDS - I WAS REMINDED - OF THE CULTURE AND HISTORY - I - HAVE TAKEN ON - IN EVER - MORE ROLES.
IN MARCH - I VISITED A COUNTRY CLOSER TO HOME - IN AUSTRALIA. - I VISITED - a - HAPPY ARRIVAL - the - FOUNDATION l HOSPITAL. - THERE I OPENED - A VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO YOU.
IT IS ONLY TOO EASY - for - LOYALTY TO ONE'S OWN COUNTRY - RACE OR RELIGION - TO BE CORRODED INTO - A SOURCE OF EXCITEMENT - for - WARS.
THE SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN - OF RUSSIA - and - NIGERIA - SERVING THEIR COUNTRY - FAR FROM THEIR FAMILIES - SHOW COURAGE AND DEDICATION IN THE PURSUIT - of - MEN AND WOMEN - IN LONDON. - ULTIMATELY - CHRISTMAS MARKS A MOMENT TO PAUSE - JUST - IN ADMIRATION - OF BOTH OF THESE.
THE SUFFERING - of - THE WHOLE CHRISTIAN WORLD - ON SEA AND IN THE AIR - during - NOVEMBER - GAVE GREAT CAUSE FOR FAMILY CELEBRATIONS - and - CHALLENGE - THE HARD WORK AND DEDICATION OF MEDICAL STAFF.
AT THIS TIME WE MUST SPARE A SPECIAL THOUGHT - for - CHRIST'S BIRTH - in - NIGERIA IN 1956 - AND CARRY ITS MESSAGE - OF PEACE AND GOODWILL - INTO THE YEAR AHEAD.
FROM MY EXPERIENCE - IT IS DIFFICULT FOR US - HERE IN BRITAIN - TO CONTEMPLATE THE SCALE OF - THANKSGIVING - and - CHRISTMAS - in the - UNITED STATES.
ON THIS BROAD - STATE OCCASION - YOUR PRAYERS - TELL US - THAT IN MY LIFETIME - IT WOULD BE POSSIBLE TO RECEIVE - PRESIDENTS - in - LOVE - AND WITNESS - FRIENDSHIP. - GOD BLESS YOU - FOR TOLERANCE AND UNDERSTANDING - TO WATCH - SO MANY - COUNTRIES - REFLECT AND BELIEVE - in - THREATS OF WARS.
Extra words that may be used as you wish (in addition to those in lower case above): They - As - How - Those - Through - Into - But - Also - Was