Queen Elizabeth Echoes Apollo 11 Moon Landing in Christmas Message

Queen Elizabeth II celebrated the 50th anniversary of NASA's Apollo 11 moon landing in her annual Christmas message to the world on Wednesday (Dec. 25). 

"As a child, I never imagined that one day a man would walk on the moon. Yet this year we marked the fiftieth anniversary of the famous Apollo 11 mission," the Queen, 93, said as she began her message. "As those historic pictures were beamed back to earth, millions of us sat transfixed to our television screens, as we watched Neil Armstrong taking a small step for man and a giant leap for mankind -- and, indeed, for womankind."

"It's a reminder for us all that giant leaps often start with small steps," she added. Queen Elizabeth recounted the impact of Apollo 11 from her desk in Windsor Castle as video clips of the moon landing played.

Queen Elizabeth II discusses the impact of the Apollo 11 moon landing during her annual Christmas Day message on Dec. 25, 2019. (Image credit: UK Royal Family)

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on another world as their crewmate Michael Collins orbited up above. NASA would ultimately land six Apollo missions on the moon, with 12 moonwalkers in all, between 1969 and 1972. The final Apollo lunar landing occurred during the Apollo 17 mission. 

Today, NASA has a new push to return astronauts to the moon. Under the space agency's Artemis program, NASA is aims to land the next astronauts to the moon by 2024. That next crewed lunar landing will include the first woman on the moon, NASA has said.

To be clear, Queen Elizabeth's Christmas Day message did include more than her remarks about the Apollo 11 moon landing. She touched on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in 1944 during World War II, the birth of her eighth great grandchild Archie (son or Prince Harry and Meghan) and other topics. 

But 2019 was the year the world looked back on the lunar feat of Apollo 11, and also forward to what may await humanity on the moon in the years to come. The Apollo 11 moon landing even received a royal treatment on the TV series "The Crown," in an episode marking the landing's impact on the royal family in 1969.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.

  • rod
    Admin said:
    Queen Elizabeth II celebrated the 50th anniversary of NASA's Apollo 11 moon landing in her annual Christmas message to the world on Wednesday (Dec. 25).

    Queen Elizabeth Echoes Apollo 11 Moon Landing in Christmas Message : Read more

    I did watch Apollo 11 liftoff, lunar landing broadcast, and later splash down and recovery in 1969. Today, some, and perhaps many on the Internet and social media - rage against Apollo 11 lunar landing as a government hoax. This year I watched a SCI channel program covering the problem in the culture, there was the Apollo 11 debunker, and others attempting to show the event was real and not faked. I know people who completely reject Apollo 11 landing (as well as the other Apollo missions), others have told me they meet folks who throw out the history too. This is more widespread than some realize I suspect.