The Sad Reason Why Queen Elizabeth Always Delivers Her Speeches on Camera

Queen Elizabeth II has been the queen of the United Kingdom since she unexpectedly took the throne in 1952. The queen had a lot to learn about the monarchy, as she was never expected to rule.

Today, Queen Elizabeth always gives speeches in front of the camera rather than via a recording. It turns out she received some harsh criticism decades ago about doing the latter. 

Queen Elizabeth giving her Christmas speech in 2018.
Queen Elizabeth giving her Christmas speech in 2018 | John Stillwell/PA Wire

Queen Elizabeth was never supposed to rule

When Queen Elizabeth was born, her uncle, Edward VIII, was first in line to the throne. Her grandfather, George V, was still ruling upon her birth. It was never expected that the queen would rule, since her uncle was supposed to wed and have children, who would then all come before her in line for the throne. But in a surprising twist of events, Edward VIII abdicated (gave up the throne) to marry a divorced woman. At the time, marrying a divorcee was prohibited in the Church of England and within the royal family.

With that, the queen’s father, George VI, took the throne, leaving her as second in line. But his health began to decline when Queen Elizabeth was in her twenties, and he passed away when she was only 25. Suddenly, she was queen.

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The queen was one of the last people to learn she’d become queen  

Queen Elizabeth had been preparing to become queen since her uncle abdicated the role in 1936. Still, she wasn’t certain she’d ever rule, as her parents could have had another child; if they’d had a son, he would have been heir apparent. However, her mother and father only welcomed two daughters, meaning Queen Elizabeth would eventually be queen. And when she stepped into the role, she still had a lot to learn.

The queen was actually one of the last people to learn she’d taken the throne. She and Prince Philip were away in Kenya when her father died, and the news didn’t reach her until several hours after other royals within the United Kingdom had found out.

The queen gives speeches on camera for a reason

Queen Elizabeth was under scrutiny when she took the throne, as she was one of the youngest monarchs in British history. And, according to Express, the queen faced harsh criticism for one of her radio speeches back in 1957, which prompted her to completely change the means through which she spoke to the public.

Queen Elizabeth began broadcasting her speeches on film in the 1950s.
Queen Elizabeth began broadcasting her speeches on film in the 1950s. | Keystone/Getty Images

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Express reported that a documentary about the queen’s life claimed one critic, Lord Altrincham, said the queen “was distant, out of date, and sounded like a priggish school girl” during the speech. The remarks reportedly affected the queen’s confidence, and she chose to film her speeches for television so that people could see her in a more natural setting rather than just hear her through the radio. It allowed her to form a better relationship with the public.

The queen has since relaxed on her royal expectations

Queen Elizabeth followed important royal standards during most of her ruling, but she has since relaxed on the royal rules for the younger generations. The queen allowed her own kids to get divorced if they wanted, and she was fine with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle leaving the royal family altogether earlier this year. It’s possible she remembers her own scrutiny and wants to make life a bit easier for the next generation of royals.