Part one: Television
This weekend the Queen celebrates 60 years as monarch, making her the second longest serving monarch in English history. This three part blog series will look at the past six decades and some of the technological developments that have occurred over Queen Elizabeth II’s reign in television, telecoms and the Internet.
Television has become a staple of our age and the Queen’s coronation in June 1953 was the first major event to be televised in Britain. The excitement around the event resulted in the sale of an extra half a million television sets and it was viewed live by 20 million people, 53% of the population.
A few years later, in 1957, the Queen became the first member of the Royal Family to address the British public at Christmas live on television. The tradition of Christmas radio messages to the public was begun by the Queen’s grandfather, King George V in 1932. During the broadcast, the Queen said of technology: “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.” The tradition of live Christmas television messages has continued ever since, complimented from 2006 by a podcast transmission of the Christmas message.
The popularity of the Royal Family was demonstrated again in 1981 when 39 million people tuned in to watch Prince Charles and Lady Diana marry, the highest audience of any TV programme in the last 30 years. In April last year, 24 million people in the UK watched the live broadcast of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding on traditional television. Interestingly, this number rose to a staggering 3 billion international viewers when you include those that used online sources demonstrating how things are changing once again and the growing trend of people watching television online. Although television is moving online, it is clear that there are still many people, in the UK and internationally, who enjoy being part of grand events through their TV sets. Who knows how we will be engaging with national events in another 60 years’ time.
Tomorrow, the blog series will take a look at the telecoms industry which has developed at an incredibly fast pace with ground-breaking developments taking place throughout the Queen’s reign.