ESL Online Magazine

helping English language learners expand their skills and their lives

Queen Elizabeth: Inspiration for the year

Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth gives a short message each Christmas. During her speech, she reflects on the past year and looks forward to the new one, offering hope and inspiration to all who listen. Queen Elizabeth’s ten-minute speech is perfect for language learners. You can listen with subtitles the first time and then try listening again without them. Queen Elizabeth speaks very slowly and deliberately, making it relatively easy to follow.

Transcript for Queen Elizabeth’s Speech

The entire transcript for this year’s speech and all previous ones can be found here.  Posted below is the transcription of first few seconds of the broadcast with some words left blank. Read through it before listening. Then, watch and try to hear the missing words. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to get the answers, or listen to her speech with the subtitles.

At this time of year, few sights evoke more _____a_____ of cheer and goodwill than the ___b_______ lights of a Christmas tree.

The popularity of a tree at Christmas is ____c_____ in part to my great-great grandparents, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. After this ______d______ picture was published, many families wanted a Christmas tree of their _______e______, and the custom soon _____f________.

Better to light a candle than curse the darkness

During this speech, Queen Elizabeth mentions an English saying, “Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” To curse the darkness is to choose to focus on what is wrong in the world rather than doing something positive instead. She refers to dark events in the past year. What events do you think she has in mind? How can people light candles? How have you lit a candle in the darkness this year?

History of the Christmas Tree

Queen Elizabeth has a lot to say about the Christmas tree. Listen for an explanation of the following points:

  1. What is the relationship between her great-grandparents and the Christmas tree?
  2. We often sit by the Christmas tree and remember the past year, giving thanks for all that has happened. What were some things for which she is thankful?
  3. After World War II, the people of Oslo started a particular tree tradition. What was it?
  4. How did Prince Albert top his tree?

Finding Inspiration this New Year

Queen Elizabeth holds up several examples of people who are lighting candles in the darkness. The examples were from the present-day Malta to the birth, life, and death over two thousand years ago. She encourages us to reflect on how we might bring a candle to the darkness in the world around us.


Answers to fill-in-the-blank: a. feeling; b. twinkling; c. due; d. touching; e. own; f. spread.




View all posts by


Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.