Queen records Christmas message in 3D format

Image caption The Queen made the first televised Christmas broadcast on television in 1957

The Queen has recorded her Christmas Day broadcast to the UK and Commonwealth in 3D for the first time, Buckingham Palace has said.

Her use of the technology comes 80 years after George V first broadcast a Christmas speech on the radio and started the December 25 tradition.

A spokesman said the Queen has watched the 3D message, produced by Sky News, and thought it "absolutely lovely".

The broadcast at 1500 GMT will also be shown in standard and high definition.

The theme of this year's broadcast is not known but it is thought likely to feature footage from the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, as well as the London Olympic Games.

The Christmas Day address is written by the Queen and usually follows a strong religious framework, reflecting current issues and her own experiences of the past 12 months.

It is one of the rare occasions when she does not seek advice from the government and voices her own views.

Last year the Queen spoke of courage and hope in adversity. She noted the resilience of communities in New Zealand after earthquakes, Australia after flooding and Wales after a mining disaster.

Embracing technology

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: "We wanted to do something a bit different and special in this Jubilee year, so doing it for the first time in 3D seemed a good thing, technology wise, to do.

"The Queen absolutely agreed straight away there was no need for convincing at all, she was absolutely ready to embrace something new in this year."

The text of last year's broadcast was made available as an e-book download and on Facebook.

In 1918 the Monarchy used lithography to reproduce a letter from George V which was then distributed to returning prisoners of war after World War I.

In 1932 King George V made the Royal's first Christmas broadcast via radio. Five years later the Coronation of George VI became the first televised outside broadcast.

The first televised Christmas broadcast was made live by the Queen in 1957. Nearly half a century later, in 2006, the speech was podcast for the first time. Then in 2007 it was shown live on YouTube via a dedicated Royal Channel.

Viewers need special glasses and a dedicated television set to watch 3D broadcasts.

While the format has not taken off as widely as manufacturers initially forecast, there are dedicated satellite and cable channels and the BBC broadcast events from the Olympics and Wimbledon in 3D.

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