Monday, 24 December 2007

Royal communication

It's interesting to see how a very old thing (a monarchy) can deal with a very new thing (Internet).
The british monarchy decided to open a channel in Youtube: the royal channel ,"the official channel of the british monarchy".
In that channel they uploaded 18 videos, including 6 videos of Prince Charles.
As soon as you see the royal youtube channel one video starts: the first televised Christmas message in 1957. After 50 years, tomorrow they are going to upload the latest Christmas Queen's speech (you can see it tomorrow on Bbc world, 17:20 Italy time; 11:20 NYC time).
In February 1952 the throne shifted from King George VI to his daughter Elizabeth II; we can't see official footage from BBC but we can see a three part documentary made by Lord Wakehurst (1895-1970) a Conservative MP and an amateur film maker. On 6 February 1952 King George VI died in his sleep (GeorgeVI's funeral took place on 15 February 1952), the same instant Elizabeth became Queen because british law states that the throne is not left vacant. The strange thing was that Elizabeth (and her husband) were abroad; therefore she became Queen when she wasn't in the United Kingdom, but in Kenya; another strange thing: Canada (not United Kingdom) was the first country that issued the first proclamation of the Queen's accession.
The last step is the coronation: it usually takes place several months after the death of the previous monarch, as it is considered a joyous occasion that would be inappropriate when mourning still continues.
Elizabeth II's coronation took place on 2 June 1953 (over a year after the death of the King).
The film of Lord Wakehurst is about this event: the first part is dedicated to the death of King George VI, the second part to the Queen's accession and the last one to the coronation.
The modern media can reveal "backstage details" inaccesible in the past: in the video "The Queen and her Prime Ministers" (not "the" Prime Ministers but "her" Prime Ministers: she owns the country) we can see the Head of State (Elizabeth II) talking to the Head of Government (Tony Blair) during the weekly audience. Obviously we can see only the beginning of the audience, we see Elizabeth sitting down on a chair and starting to scratch a leg, the cameraman starts to zoom the upper part of the body in order to avoid the viewers to see the Queen scratching the leg: Kings and Queens must not scratch their legs in a public space!
Unlike other channels, the royal channel isn't interactive: comments have been disabled. I don't see anything wrong about that, insulting comments would damage the seriousness and the "holiness" of a monarchy, there are other places where you can comment them. Who said that everything must be interactive?

Tv and Internet can be many things, british monarchy tries to use them as a storyteller of tradition and national identity.


Luca Taddei said...

It's a very interesting post! It describes very well the new project of The Royal Channel.
I agree with the fact that everything doesn't have to be interactive, because we can experiment different uses of web technologies.
Using Tv and Internet like a storyteller of tradition and national identity can become a good strategy for brand Britain, now and in the future.


Fabrizio said...

Thanks for your comment. We both heard that the italian president of republic is going to do the same (speech broadcast through 6 tv channels and in rai channel of You Tube) the evening of New Year's Eve. I might prefer the Queen because her speech is just 10 minutes, not 30 minutes!

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