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Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

HM The Queen's Christmas Day broadcast


Creator: Central Press Photos Ltd. : 6-7 Gough Square, Fleet Street, London EC4 (photographic agency)
Creation Date: 
Dec 1957
Materials and techniques: 
Gelatin silver print
20.3 x 25.3 cm
From the Central Office of Information photographic archives

Photograph of HM Queen Elizabeth II seated at her desk, facing three-quarters right. She holds a copy of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress which she quoted from during her annual Christmas speech. Also on the desk are photographs of Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

Following her accession, The Queen continued the tradition begun in 1932 by her grandfather, King George V, of making a radio broadcast to the Empire on Christmas Day each year. However, in 1957 Her Majesty agreed that, for the first time, the broadcast from Sandringham could also be televised. By this time both Canada and Australia had their own television services; the broadcast could also still be heard on the radio throughout the remainder of the Commonwealth. The speech was televised live and The Queen took the opportunity to talk about the impact of new technology on people’s lives. Sixteen and a half million people saw the television broadcast in Britain alone, and a further nine and a half million listened on the radio.

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