Queen Elizabeth II Joins YouTube Generation

December 27, 2007 0

“In 1957, Queen Elizabeth II broadcast a Christmas message using the relatively new medium of television … In 2007; she will use “YouTube” as one means to send out her 50th Christmas message to people in Britain, Canada, other Commonwealth countries and the world.”

London — The Queen, who celebrated her 60th wedding anniversary last month, said on Tuesday that the family was the core of society and urged greater consideration for the vulnerable and marginalized.

“All the great religious teachings of the world press home the message that everyone has a responsibility to care for the vulnerable,” the British monarch said today. For those living “on the edge of society,” she said, “the modern world can seem a distant and hostile place.”

The Queen’s Christmas message, an annual greeting from the U.K.’s Queen Elizabeth II to her subjects, will be available on YouTube for the first time this year as part of an official YouTube channel opened on Sunday by Buckingham Palace.

The Royal Channel, dubbed “the official YouTube channel of the British monarchy,” carries both current and archive footage of the royal family and promises regular updates with new video.

“The Queen always keeps abreast with new ways of communicating with people,” Buckingham Palace said in a statement. “The Christmas message was podcast last year.”

There will also be a podcast this year, and for the first time, the Christmas message will be available in high-definition television.

“She has always been aware of reaching more people and adapting the communication to suit. This will make the Christmas message more accessible to younger people and those in other countries.”

Marking the 50th anniversary of her first televised Christmas address to the nation, the Queen also paid tribute to dead and wounded members of the armed forces serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“For their families, Christmas will bring back sad memories, and I pray that all of you, who are missing those who are dear to you, will find strength and comfort in your families and friends,” she said.

She also said, during her message, growing older had given her a “heightened awareness of change.”

“The first televised broadcast of the Queen’s Christmas message was in 1957, but it is a tradition begun on the radio in 1932 by George V.”

“To remember what happened 50 years ago means that it is possible to appreciate what has changed in the meantime. It also makes you aware of what has remained constant,” she said.

The highlight of the first 18 videos is the first televised Christmas Broadcast of 1957. The channel also includes clips of The Queen Mother’s wedding and the first episodes of several series such as “A day in the life of The Prince of Wales.”

Other footage on the royal family’s site includes clips of the 1923 wedding between the Duke of York and Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, and video of Queen Alexandra’s 1917 tour of rose sellers in London’s West End.

The clips have already attracted several thousand views since hitting YouTube about a week ago, according to statistics on the site. The 1957 broadcast has garnered a lot more attention and had just under 300,000 views at time of writing. That makes it the fifth most popular video viewed in the U.K. this week, according to YouTube.

The Christmas message from the queen, 81, appeared on YouTube at the same time as it aired on British television, in an effort to reach the increasing number of people watching videos online.

“This is to encourage more people around the world, particularly the young generation, to access this broadcast,” a spokeswoman at the monarch’s London residence, Buckingham Palace; said by telephone on condition of anonymity.

Google, owner of the most-used Internet search engine, bought YouTube for $1.65 billion last year, to attract users and sell more video ads. Almost three quarters of U.S. Internet surfers watched a video online in September, according to market researcher ComScore Inc. Google’s video sites attracted 71.6 million users that month, making them the most popular video destination on the Web, Reston, Virginia- based ComScore said.

Beating The Queen to the top-spot in the U.K. is a trailer for a new season of TV show “Lost,” a teaser for the long-awaited “Duke Nukem Forever” computer game, a clip of the winning entry from TV show “X Factor” and, as the most-viewed video of the week in the U.K., a video from a Britney Spears look-a-like offering parenting tips to Britney’s pregnant sister.

Buckingham Palace established its cyber credentials last year when it began offering The Queen’s Christmas Message and other addresses via an RSS feed for download into iPods and other video players. Until then it had been most widely available online through the BBC’s Web site.

The queen, who writes the Christmas message herself and records it in one take, said all the world’s great religions taught care and consideration for others less well off.

“For these people the modern world can seem a distant and hostile place,” she said.

“Fortunately, there are many groups and individuals, often unsung and unrewarded, who are dedicated to ensuring that the “outsiders” are given a chance to be recognized and respected.

“However, each one of us can also help by offering a little time, a talent or a possession, and taking a share in the responsibility for the well-being of those who feel excluded,” she added.

“Wherever these words find you, and in whatever circumstances, I want to wish you all a blessed Christmas,” she concluded.

The Queen spent Christmas morning with other members of the Royal Family at a church service near her estate in Sandringham, Norfolk.

She was accompanied by princes Edward, Andrew and Charles, as well as the Duchess of Cornwall.

Prince Andrew has said the Royal Family usually assembles to watch the Queen’s speech, but that the Queen watches the broadcast on her own in another room.

“The catalogue is at: www.youtube.com/theroyalchannel.”