The Queen is pictured on many of the front pages in a photograph issued by Buckingham Palace as she recorded her annual Christmas Day message.
The Daily Mail says she will pay a moving tribute to Prince Phillip, as she spends her first Christmas without him since they were married more than 73 years ago.
“Queen shares pain of her loss” is the headline in the Daily Express, which says her address will reflect “the poignancy of grief and remembrance in a year when many have lost loved ones to Covid”.
“Always by her side” is the headline in the Daily Mirror, which notes that the Queen recorded the speech alongside a single, framed photograph – showing her with the duke as they celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary in 2007.
The Sun says she will also be seen wearing the same sapphire chrysanthemum brooch she was photographed with as she walked arm-in-arm with her new husband on honeymoon in 1947.
The Daily Telegraph reports that government insiders think New Year’s Eve Covid restrictions are less likely because of new data indicating that Omicron is milder than the Delta variant.
A government source tells the paper the working assumption is that Boris Johnson will stop short of ordering new curbs on socialising straight after Christmas.
A second source close to Downing Street tells the paper a package of post-Christmas restrictions “doesn’t look as likely as it was” – but the paper says other figures in government have stressed that ministers are not yet in a position to make final decisions.
In contrast to the Telegraph’s cautious optimism, the Guardian says doctors remain concerned about Omicron and are urging people to have small Christmas get-togethers.
The paper highlights minutes from the latest meeting of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, in which government advisers said the variant would have to be 90% less severe, in order to avoid reaching the peak hospital admissions seen earlier in the pandemic.
The Times says millions of people face having a fourth vaccine dose next year, after data suggested booster protection dropped significantly 10 weeks after the jab.
A senior government source tells the paper there is “flexibility” to run another booster campaign when needed.
The Financial Times reports that vintage champagne prices have “popped” this year – because of a surge in demand and restricted supplies.
The paper reports that an online marketplace for wine trading says prices for bubbly have gone up by almost 34% – making it attractive to investors who may usually stick to a top-end Bordeaux or Burgundy.
The paper notes the most sought-after brands include Dom Perignon 2008 and Krug 2000 – but it says Salon 2002 has seen the steepest price increase with 12 bottles rising in value by 80% to £10,000.
Several papers report on the development of a new lickable television.
The i explains that the prototype – developed by a Japanese professor – relies on 10 flavour canisters, which spray in tandem to recreate the sensation of sampling food when the screen is licked.
The paper says it may be the first TV truly able to offer “something to everyone’s taste.”