I Didn’t Know That Queen’s Christmas Speech

I Didn’t Know That Queen’s Christmas Speech


1    George V had reigned since 1910, but it was not until 1932 that he gave his first festive speech. The fixed time of 3pm each year was chosen in 1932 because it was considered the best for reaching most of the countries in the British Empire by short wave.

2    There was no broadcast in 1936 or in 1938.

3    King George VI, Edward’s younger brother, made his first broadcast in December 1937 in which he thanked the nation and Empire for their support during the first year of his reign.

4    It was the outbreak of war in 1939 which firmly established the tradition, when George VI sought to reassure people and boost morale.

5    Following her father’s death, the Queen made her first Christma sradio  broadcast in 1952

6    She made the first televised Royal Christmas broadcast in 1957, live from Sandringham.

7    She has delivered one every year except for 1969, when she decided the royals had been on TV enough that year following an unprecedented documentary the family made about their life.

8    Her 1969 greeting took the form of a written address.

9    The Queen does her speech in one take, usually recording it a couple of weeks before the 25th. Accompanying TV footage is gathered throughout the year.

10   She writes her own message and each one has a religious framework and reflects current issues.

11   The speech is one of the rare occasions when the Queen does not turn to the government for advice and is able to voice her own views.

12   1980 The message, which attracted a record 28 million viewers in the United Kingdom alone

13   1997 was the first time the speech was published on the internet

14   1967 The message, filmed at Buckingham Palace, was the first to be shown in colour

15   Rudyard Kipling drafted the first speech, which was 251 words long, ran for two-and-a-half minutes and reached a radio audience of 20 million across the British empire

16    Audience figures have fallen but royal misfortune attracts more viewers such as in 1992, her “annus horribilis”, which saw the marriages of Prince Charles and Prince Andrew collapse, the publication of Andrew Morton’s Diana: Her True Story, the public airings of the embarrassing Squidgygate and Camillagate private phone calls, and the Windsor Castle fire. The Sun broke the embargo, publishing the message two days early, and the Queen sued for breach of copyright.

17    The BBC lost its monopoly on broadcast rights in 1995 with the announcement that from 1997 it would have to alternate with ITV, a move some interpreted – despite the palace’s denial – as royal revenge for the BBC’s broadcast that year of the Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, without Buckingham Palace sanction. Sky News has also since been added.

18   Today the speech is broadcast on TV, radio and online. A podcast was added in 2006, and in 2012, for the diamond jubilee, she appeared in 3D.

19   The Queen made her first Tweet on 24/10/2014  11:35:00 The Royal Family@RoyalFamily  “It is a pleasure to open the Information Age exhibition today at the @ScienceMuseum and I hope people will enjoy visiting. Elizabeth R.”

20   The Queen joined Facebook in November 2010, with a page called the British Monarchy. This year, the broadcast will be live on Facebook and Youtube as well as television and radio.

21   To mark the 50th anniversary of the Queen’s first televised festive address, a YouTube channel for the royal family, called the Royal Channel, was launched in December 2007

22   She has given out approximately 90,000 Christmas puddings to staff, continuing the custom of King George V and King George VI. In addition, the Queen gives her entire staff gifts at Christmastime.

23    Her first prerecorded broadcast took place in 1960, allowing transmission around the world.

24   She sent her first e-mail in 1976, from a British army base.

25    In 1997, Buckingham Palace’s first official website was launched

26   The Queen issued a writ against the Sun newspaper after it published the full text of her 1992 broadcast two days before its transmission. She later accepted an apology and a £200,000 donation to charity.

27   In 2012, Sky News produced the Christmas address in 3D. Viewers were able to see the Queen donning a pair of 3D glasses, rather different to her usual rimless spectacles.

28  In 1989 Elizabeth II read part of her speech in front of an audience at the Royal Albert Hall. This was the first time that an audience had heard the speech prior to broadcast.

29  In 1975, the Broadcast was filmed outside for the first time, in the Buckingham Palace gardens and between 1986 and 1991, David Attenborough produced the Queen’s Christmas address.

30  2017 Christmas Speech will be her 65th

Queen's Christmas Speech
Queen’s Christmas Speech