The Queen’s Christmas Speech: Ratings From The Last 20 Years

In the space of about ten years, the amount of viewers tuning in to the Queen’s Christmas Speech (or to give it the official title ‘Her Majesty’s Most Gracious Address’) has pretty much halved. This growing ambivalence towards the Queen is all the more surprising when you consider the statistic that during the 1960’s, 70% of the population were said to watch or listen to our monarch on Christmas Day.. (Of course the fact that there wasn’t anything else on at the time, plays a part in that statistic). Yet while audience figures receded faster than Prince William’s hairline in the late nineties, the total number of viewers on Christmas Day (including repeats) has leveled in recent years. Perhaps we’re finally down to the monarchist hardcore?

The Queen appears on telly in far more forms of HD glory than ever before; BBC, ITV and Sky now share rights to the speech (for the next two years it is Sky’s turn to produce it). With YouTube also getting in on the act, it is a little ironic that the more ways there are to watch it; the amount of people actually tuning in to watch it live continues to decline (just 5 million a couple of years back)..

These figures are unofficial estimates gathered from various sources and reflect the total number of people who watched or listened to the Queen's Speech at any time on Christmas Day.
These figures are unofficial estimates gathered from various sources and reflect the total number of people who watched or listened to the Queen's Speech at any time on Christmas Day.

The speech originally began as a way of inaugurating the BBC World Service, yet it truly cemented its tradition by being a method for the King or Queen to unite the country during particularly testing times. As the rather snazzy graph above shows, this proved to be the case in 1997 when the Princess of Wales died. The Queen reflected the nation’s sadness at the loss of Diana (eventually) and it seems that people were especially interested in what she had to say because there was a spike. However, this momentary rise was once again set to be a flash in the pan, as we resigned ourselves to families of a more fictional kind; those Albert Square squabbles and Weatherfield wars are clearly far more entertaining than anything Her Maj can offer…

Yet with 2011 being a fantastic year for the Royal Family, some are predicting an increase in viewers and the audience share certainly won’t be harmed by rumours that the address will include previously unseen footage of Kate and William’s wedding..

Source: Various News Articles

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