Queen's 'film star glamor' in first Christmas speech gives 50s 'TV presenter' vibes

The Queen's first televised Christmas speech was very different to her more recent broadcasts

The Queen's first TV Christmas speech shows 'film star glamor'
(Image credit: Getty)

With just a few days to go until the Queen’s Christmas speech, there’s never been a better time to look back through the archives of the monarch’s past broadcasts. 

The Queen's first-ever televised Christmas speech was very different from her more modern versions, a body language expert has claimed. 

The 95-year-old monarch has addressed Britain and its Commonwealth nations every December 25 since 1952, carrying on a Royal Family tradition founded by her father, King George VI, twenty years prior. 

The speech, which today lasts about ten minutes, is written by the Queen herself and typically discusses the year’s most significant events. It also provides the public an exciting glimpse into one of Her Majesty's decadent residences, with the broadcast usually filmed at Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle

Queen's Christmas speech 2019

(Image credit: Getty)

The Queen's Christmas Speech 2021 is likely to be one of her most heartbreaking yet, as she faces her first winter without the company of her late husband, Prince Philip. 

The Queen's Christmas plans have also been thrown into disarray, with rising Covid rates threatening her Royal Family celebrations at Sandringham House from safely going ahead. It's expected that the great-grandmother will make a decision in the next 48 hours on whether or not to host the two-day-long shindig on her sprawling Norfolk estate. 

Perhaps the most famous of the Queen’s festive messages, however, took place in 1957, when the monarch delivered her first-ever televised Christmas speech after over two decades of radio addresses. 

The historic broadcast saw the 31-year-old Head of State speak directly to the public from the Long Library at Sandringham, marking a pivotal shift in the once-distant relationship between the Royal Family and the nation. In the words of the Queen herself, “Today is another landmark because television has made it possible for many of you to see me in your homes on Christmas Day.” 

Its use of modern technology isn’t the only reason the speech has gone down in history though. 

According to body language expert Judi James, the 1957 Christmas message is the Queen’s “most professional and experimental speech to date”.

“Her styling is pure film-star glamour, with a full-skirted satin dress and a wide, gleaming smile for the camera,” she tells the Express

“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.” 

Queen's 1957 Christmas speech

The Queen's Christmas speech in 1957 "oozes leadership and authority"

(Image credit: Getty)

In the seven-minute-long video, the young Queen speaks confidently while staring directly at the camera - only glancing briefly at her notes and keeping her hand gestures to a minimum. She is sitting with crossed legs rather than crossed ankles, in a pose James calls "authoritative" and "elegant." 

“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," James adds. 

“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.

“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.”

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.