The Queen's Speech
The Queen's Christmas message will focus on her Christian faith ScreenGrab

The Queen's speech will this year be focused on her Christian faith and her belief in the important role of Christianity in modern British life. It comes at the end of a year in which the world has been left reeling after a spate of terrorist attacks by Islamic State (ISIS) extremists.

The former Bishop of Rochester, Michael Nazir-Ali, said the Queen's speech would be poignant, as she reflects on the attacks on British holiday makers in Tunisia and the massacre in Paris.

"Clearly extremism is a backdrop to anything that any public figures say at this time," he said.

"If people in this country gave greater heed to what the Queen says about the importance of Christianity in our personal as well as our national life, then we would be in a better place to confront it.

"The Queen will also be aware that Christians and others have faced unprecedented persecution over the last year in parts of the Middle East, and could even face extinction."

Pakistani-born Bishop Nazir-Ali added: "The Queen was very aware of the need to express her faith clearly while also respecting other beliefs. There is pressure for the next Coronation to be multi-faith or no faith. My understanding is that it will actually be a Christian event, but obviously the Queen would want to reinforce that."

A source told the Mail on Sunday: "Over the years we've seen a greater emphasis on the Queen's faith and we're certain to see it in this year's Christmas broadcast. There's a fundamental optimism which, to an extent, is driven by her faith in contrast to the overall gloom. She is driven by a deep and spirited faith."

The content of the Queen's annual pre-recorded speech, which last year attracted 7.8 million viewers in the UK alone, is such a closely guarded secret that Palace officials refer to it by the code-name 'QXB', for Queen's Xmas Broadcast.

The Queen has been recording her annual message to the nation for 63 years. Her first ever TV message aired live from Sandringham when the Queen apparently had an attack of nerves and "stage fright" when she first saw the camera, according to Ingrid Seward, of Majesty magazine.

"Prince Philip came to the rescue. As she was about to go on air he said something funny and she relaxed and delivered the speech perfectly," she told the Mail.

Sir David Attenborough shares some behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the Queen's speeches through the years, in the BBC1 documentary Cue The Queen, to air at 7pm on Monday 21 December.

The Queen's speech airs on BBC1 and ITV at 3pm on Christmas Day. It is also broadcast across the Commonwealth.