The Queen hinted at plans to hand over to the next generation yesterday as she addressed the nation 60 years after her first televised Christmas message.

In a reflective mood and surrounded by pictures of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, the 91-year-old monarch said that as a child she could never have dreamed of reaching her 70th wedding anniversary earlier this year.

She said the idea of a platinum anniversary had not been invented then, adding: "When I was born, you weren't expected to be around that long."

The Queen, who is now the longest reigning monarch in British history, made a point of saying that 'even' Prince Philip, 96, who announced his retirement from public life earlier this year, has decided to start taking it easy.

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It was almost as if she were suggesting that she, too, might consider following in his footsteps in the not too distant future, the Daily Mail wrote.

As if to emphasise this point, she chose to highlight the fact that the younger generation of the Royal Family will become even larger next year.

Prince Harry is due to marry his fiancee, Meghan Markle, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child.

Speaking in her pre-recorded Christmas address from Buckingham Palace, the Queen said: "Even Prince Philip has decided it's time to slow down a little – having, as he economically put it, 'done his bit'."

"But I know his support and unique sense of humour will remain as strong as ever, as we enjoy spending time this Christmas with our family and look forward to welcoming new members into it next year."

The Queen is now the longest reigning monarch in British history. Photo / AP
The Queen is now the longest reigning monarch in British history. Photo / AP

The sense of out with the old and in with the new was emphasised by the choice of photographs displayed on the Queen's desk in Buckingham Palace, and elsewhere in the Christmas Day broadcast.

They included a photograph of the Queen and Philip taken to mark their 70th wedding anniversary in November, and a black-and-white photograph of the couple on their wedding day in 1947.

There was also a photograph of Prince George released in July to mark his fourth birthday, and a picture of Princess Charlotte taken by the Duchess of Cambridge on her second birthday.

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Viewers also saw a photograph of Harry and Meghan at the Kensington Palace photocall to announce their engagement last month, and a photograph of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall taken at Clarence House.

Yesterday's broadcast came 65 years after the Queen made her inaugural address to the nation, which was originally broadcast on the radio. It began with a black-and-white clip of her first televised address in 1957 before flicking back to the present day.

The Queen joked about how "the presenter has 'evolved' somewhat" along with the technology used to broadcast her words.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, centre, with Prince Philip, right, wait for their car as they leave following the traditional Christmas Day church service. Photo / AP
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, centre, with Prince Philip, right, wait for their car as they leave following the traditional Christmas Day church service. Photo / AP

"Back then, who could have imagined that people would one day be watching this on laptops and mobile phones,' she said. 'But I'm also struck by something that hasn't changed. That, whatever the technology, many of you will be watching this at home.

"We think of our homes as places of warmth, familiarity and love; of shared stories and memories, which is perhaps why at this time of year so many return to where they grew up. There is a timeless simplicity to the pull of home."

As she gave her address, the Queen was wearing a dress in ivory white bouclé threaded throughout with silk ribbon, embroidered with gold, silver and ivory spots and embellished with Swarovski crystals, by Angela Kelly.

She first wore the dress during the River Thames pageant for her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

After recalling the terror attacks in London and Manchester, as well as the Grenfell Tower tragedy, she concluded her address with the message: "Whatever your own experiences this year, I wish you a peaceful and very happy Christmas."