Queen’s Christmas Day message: From audio-only to 3D
Queen Elizabeth II gave her Christmas Message to the nation as her Diamond Jubilee year draws to a close.
Since her first message in 1952, The Queen has ruled through enormous historic events and periods of change.
Queen Elizabeth II gave her first Christmas message in 1952 which was broadcast in sound only on television in the UK.
However, her message five years later was perhaps more significant as it was the first to be televised.
The Queen read from the Long Library at Sandringham House and in her message she noted how it was the 25th anniversary of the first Christmas message broadcast on radio.
She also highlighted the advance of technology which allowed her message to be seen by people up and down the country in their homes.
However, despite marking how things were changing, she also spoke about the importance of holding on to ideals and values such as religion, self-restraint and honesty.
During this decade the Queen gave birth to Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. It was a period of huge social upheaval which the Queen reflected in her 1966 message.
She used the broadcast to speak about the increasingly prominent and important role played by women in society.
It was also during this year that the Aberfan disaster occurred in which 144 people were killed following the collapse of a colliery spoil tip into the Welsh village of Aberfan.
No Christmas address was given by the Queen in 1969 because Elizabeth felt that with the investiture of Prince Charles and the release of a documentary about the Royal Family she had had enough coverage on television.
A number of the Queen’s Christmas Day messages during this decade reflected on the continuing troubles in Northern Ireland.
The monarch also celebrated the wedding of her daughter, The Princess Anne, to Captain Mark Phillips.
In 1977, the Queen’s speech celebrated the Silver Jubilee. She used her message to express hope for a reconciliation in Northern Ireland.
In August of that year, she visited Northern Ireland for the first time in 11 years and she attempted to help push for peace.
The first Christmas Day Message of this decade attracted a record 28 million viewers in the United Kingdom.
The Queen reflected on celebrations for The Queen Mother’s 80th birthday and used her message to address the themes of service in all its forms.
The Queen’s 1982 message marked the 30th anniversary of the first Christmas message. She delivered this message in the library of Windsor Castle for the very first time.
The year was marked by British troops fighting in the Falklands War and so the theme of the message by the Queen was “the sea”.
Prince William was also born during this year with Prince Harry born in 1984.
In 1990, Her Majesty paid tribute to the role of the armed services as troops prepared for Operation Desert Storm in the First Gulf War.
A year later, her message highlighted the huge changes occurring across Eastern Europe and particularly the Soviet Union, which was dissolved into 15 states on Christmas Day.
In her speech in 1995, the Queen reminded the country of the 50th anniversaries of VE Day and VJ Day and paid tribute to soldiers who had died in the Second World War.
Two years later, the Queen’s message opened with a reminder of a personal loss when Princess Diana died just a few months earlier. But she also spoke of her joy of married life.
In 1999, she told how she was looking forward to the new Millennium.
The Queen used her first Christmas message of the new Millennium to reflect on the role of faith in communities.
The following year, Her Majesty made reference to foot-and-mouth disease, which had crippled Britain’s farming community, and the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Her 50th Christmas broadcast in 2002 was tinged with personal sadness for the Queen as she reflected on the deaths of The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret.
But she also remembered the joyous scenes when the nation celebrated her Golden Jubilee.
In 2005, she drew attention to tragedies such as the south-east Asia tsunami which killed more than 230,000 people in 14 countries, the earthquake in Kashmir and the 7/7 bombings in London.
Critics pointed to her omission of Prince Charles’s wedding to Camilla Parker Bowles, with some in the media describing it as a “snub”.
A year later was the first time the speech was made available as a podcast.
In 2008, she addressed people’s concerns about the global economic crash and called on the nation to work for a better future and not accept defeat.
In 2010, the Christmas message for filmed for the first time at Hampton Court Palace.
She spoke of the unifying force of sport at building communities and featured footage of Prince William and Prince Harry playing football with orphans in Lesotho.
This year, the Queen paid tribute to the success of the Olympic and Paralympic athletes at London 2012 and reflected on the celebrations for her Diamond Jubilee.
It was filmed for the first time in 3D… in stark contrast to that audio-only Christmas message of 1952.
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