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BRIT Review

Case Study: The Royal Christmas Message

Friday, November 24, 2017


The message from the Queen broadcast at 3:00pm to the UK and Commonwealth is now as traditional as eating mince pies and singing carols. But can you believe it has been sixty years since the Queen gave her first message to the nation on television.

The Queen has delivered her Christmas message to the nation, and 52 states of the Commonwealth since 1952. 

The Queen often reflects on the year within themes such as compassion, generosity or wider Christian values. Any significant anniversaries such as the 100 years since the First World War will also be referenced as will major national events such as the 2012 London Olympics. 

The Queen also makes personal references to her own families lives such as royal births, major overseas tours and birthday milestones.

Originally, it was called the King’s Christmas Message and was intended to support the BBC World Service. 

Despite disliking the medium of radio, George V agreed to start Christmas broadcasts in 1932. 

His successor, King Edward VIII never delivered a Christmas message as his reign lasted less than a year, ending in abdication in 1936. No message was broadcast this year.

However, they became important once more during the Second World War with broadcasts from then George VI designed to boost morale. 

Rudyard Kipling wrote George V’s first message, but it is said the Queen writes her own, as it is an opportunity to speak personally and without advice from Ministers.

The message, apparently often done in one take, is recorded a few days before Christmas, often at Buckingham Palace and before the Queen travels to Sandringham where she spends every Christmas with her family. 

Watch: The Queen's first televised broadcast - 1957


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