Queen’s first ever Christmas speech oozed ‘Hollywood glamour’, ‘leadership’ & ‘authority’

HMS Queen Elizabeth displays 'global Britain' says Moorhouse

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This tradition began with a radio broadcast from King George V in 1932, with the Queen taking over in 1952. Elizabeth’s first televised message was in 1952 and she has missed it only once since.

From 1957 to 2020, the Queen has been filmed delivering her speech from Buckingham Palace every year.

The only year the annual message wasn’t broadcasted was in 1969, which was the same year a documentary about her family was released.

Entitled Royal Family, the documentary was aired by BBC One and ITV in June 1969.

Due to the rare insight into her personal life, Her Majesty reportedly thought the public knew enough about her and therefore cancelled the broadcasting of her speech that Christmas.

But what about the speeches preceding and following 1969?

Body language expert Judi James looked at the Queen’s first televised speech and compared it to the ones that followed, analysing if and how Her Majesty has changed.

Interestingly, Judi claimed the Queen’s first televised speech was her “most professional and experimental speech to date”.

She said: “Her styling is pure film-star glamour, with a full-skirted satin dress and a wide, gleaming smile for the camera.

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“The woman we now look to for continuity and a sense of reassurance was the young pioneer for modernity and change back then and this reflects in her body language performance.

“Her elegant pose is authoritative, with the legs crossed in the normal way rather than the crossed at the ankles with a leg-slant way that is seen as a signature royal look.

“With her hands clasped in her lap and her chin held high the Queen looks more like a professional TV presenter of her day than a nervous young Queen.

“Her father had been known to suffer badly from nerves during his own appearances and it appears the Queen found it essential to suggest an air of calm confidence, enthusiasm and leadership.”

The body language expert continued: “As she speaks she pauses regularly to glance at A4 notes on her desk and, despite the fact she was also working from an auto-cue, she even turns the pages of her notes calmly and without displaying any signals of anxiety.

“Despite the Hollywood glamour, the Queen also oozes leadership and authority, with a small but firm lip purse at the end of some of her more opinionated points.

“There is a moment in the middle where she employs hand gestures in a way that have rarely been seen since, holding them together in front of her upper torso and even flinging them out in an inclusive and emphatic-looking ritual.

“She even uses a book as a prop at one point in another display of performer confidence.”

Judi added that Queen Elizabeth’s “direct and wide smile to the camera makes her look enthusiastic to share her home with her subjects”.

“Her objective is made clear that she wants to come across as less remote and distanced,” the body language expert claimed.

“The only small sign of nerves is a very subtle thumb-fiddle, a self-comfort gesture that returns in some of her later Christmas speeches.”

Although filmed in black and white, the Queen opted for a shiny dress with a spotted pattern for her first televised speech.

The dress’ material featured a unique twist in the bodice and had short sleeves.

Her Majesty also wore three strings of pearls around her neck and small stud earrings were attached to her ears.

Unlike in recent years, she did not wear a brooch.

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