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Queen goes live on YouTube with her video film clips
THE Queen is to place this year’s Christmas message on YouTube to compete with clips of skateboarders and somersaulting dogs.
The broadcast, her 50th since the message was first televised, will help to launch a royal channel on the video-sharing website. Fans will be able to view rare archive footage as well as clips of royal tours overseas and users will be able to rank the videos by giving them a star rating.
The channel – www.youtube.com/theroyalchannel – went live just after midnight last night and is a royal first. By tapping into the YouTube community, the Queen’s advisers hope she will be able to broaden her appeal.
Since its launch by three American friends in 2005, YouTube has become one of the world’s most popular websites, allowing individual and corporate users – including 10 Downing Street – to upload, view and share video clip.
Those logging onto the Queen’s YouTube space today will be able to access previously restricted footage of the monarch’s Christmas Day message from 1957.
The Queen, who reportedly has owned an iPod since 2005, spoke presciently in that 1957 black and white broadcast from Sandringham about the impact of technology.
“Today is another landmark because television has made it possible for many of you to see me in your homes on Christmas Day,” she said.
“I very much hope that this new medium will make my Christmas message more personal and direct . . . That it is possible for some of you to see me today is just another example of the speed at which things are changing all around us.”
Other footage already available on the royal channel includes a silent newsreel of the Queen Mother’s wedding in 1923 and an earlier film of Queen Alexandra visiting rose sellers in London’s West End.
The palace has also posted a film which has never previously been publicly released. It was made by Lord Wakehurst, a former Conservative MP and governor of Northern Ireland. Called Long to Reign Over Us, it contains amateur footage of crowds gathering in London to mourn the death of King George VI, followed by the public celebrations that marked the Queen’s accession and coronation.
Future clips that will be posted onto the channel are likely to feature the Queen and other members of the royal family, such as Princes William and Harry, carrying out official engagements in Britain and abroad.
Footage of royal garden parties and investitures will also be made available on the site.
Viewers will have to look elsewhere on the internet to find less flattering royal material, such as the infamous 1995 BBC interview by Diana, Princess of Wales with Martin Bashir on Panorama in which she spoke frankly about her separation from the Prince of Wales.
Charles’s 1994 interview with Jonathan Dimbleby, in which the prince admitted committing adultery, will also be absent from the YouTube site. Nor is it likely to show the farcical footage of the It’s a Royal Knock-out tournament, for which Prince Edward persuaded his siblings to don tights and funny hats in an ill-conceived attempt to boost the popularity of the monarchy.
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: “The royal channel is a way of bringing the Queen’s Christmas message to more people of all ages across the world and keeping up with technological innovation as the Queen has always done.”
Showing a canny knack for keeping ahead of the times, the Queen launched an official internet website for the British monarchy in 1997 and last year her Christmas message was made available as a podcast for the first time. Tuesday’s television broadcast, which has been recorded at Buckingham Palace, will be in high-definition format to ensure a better picture quality.
Up to eight hours of content is uploaded to YouTube every minute and the most popular videos have been viewed by more than 50m users. Last year the website was bought by Google, the internet behemoth, for almost £900m.
At 81 the Queen is likely to be one of the oldest users of YouTube. But the site is by no means the preserve of fickle teenagers.
Last year a 79-year-old widower, using the name of “geriatric 1927”, gained a cult following by posting videos of himself moaning about life.
David Cunard, Los Angeles, United States
Eric Shackle , Sydney, Australia
Welcome to Official YouTube Channel for the British Monarchy
We hope that you enjoy watching the videos on this channel.
The Christmas Broadcast or 'Queen's Speech' for 2007 will appear on this channel at approximately 3pm GMT on Christmas Day.
If you would like to read transcripts of past Christmas Broadcasts, visit http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/page3949.asp
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