Since Christmas day in 1932, when George V took to the airwave to address listeners to aim for ‘prosperity without self-seeking’, little did he know that he was starting somewhat a festive tradition that continues to this day. This year’s Christmas message from the Queen of England provoked an excitable response on Twitter – all because the Queen made reference to Game of Thrones.
The speech, which was themed around reconciliation, included a section on her visit to Belfast last June where she toured the Game of Thrones set. ‘The benefits of reconciliation were clear to see when I visited Belfast in June,’ said the Queen, who is currently at her Norfolk home, Sandringham. ‘While my tour of the set of Game Of Thrones may have gained most attention, my visit to the Crumlin Road Gaol will remain vividly in my mind.’
Crumlin Road Gaol, which closed in 1996, was one of the prisons used to house IRA convicts during The Troubles but has now been turned into a museum. The same day, the Queen visited the set of the HBO series where she inspected the fabled Iron Throne, before being introduced to cast members Lena Headey, who plays Queen Cersei, and Kit Harrington (Jon Snow).
Following the mention in the Queen’s speech, Game of Thrones fans took to Twitter, with one, Sophie Corfan, exclaiming: ‘Did the Queen seriously just name drop Game of Thrones!? ‘I thought she’d have been more of an Orange is the New Black fan. #QueensSpeech’. Another, Caroline Carpenter, simply wrote: ‘Love that #GameOfThrones got a shout out in the Queen’s speech!’
But not everyone thought that the mention was the Queen’s idea. One Twitter user named Ty suggested that the mention could have been the result of a bet with Prince Harry. (See the above tweet)
Although, her referring to the popular Tv series is the first for the Queen’s Christmas broadcast, it isn’t the first time that the monarch has set Twitter ablaze. The same trip to Belfast produced the Queen’s first selfie after she was approached by a cheeky teenager who dashed out of the crowd to take the picture. Schoolboy Jack Surgenor, 14, spotted the Queen as she toured St George’s Market and dashed into her path to get his picture which he snapped as the monarch’s security detail closed in.
But her account, @BritishMonarchy, was bombarded with messages from Twitter users desperate to get her attention, while suspicions that the Tweet was the work of a flunky were also raised.
Controversy notwithstanding, the Queen has long embraced technology and was among the first to send an email. The annual Christmas message is also no stranger to technological innovation, with the very first – made by George V – packed with references to the new technology that made it possible.
Whatever the technology used, the theme of the Christmas broadcast – including this year’s Game of Thrones reference – is always chosen by the Queen herself. ‘The establishment of the Christmas broadcast as an annual tradition creates a sense of continuity for many,’ explains a Buckingham Palace source. ‘Though each year’s theme is chosen by the Queen and reflects her own interests, it is always motivated by compassion and concern for others.’
Her message also contains references to current events, although everything is vetted to ensure that nothing breaches her stance of remaining politically neutral.
‘For the Queen, the Broadcast is an opportunity to speak directly to the public,’ explains the Buckingham Palace source.
‘It is an opportunity to react to their concerns and to thank and reassure them. In this way, the Christmas Broadcast helps to reinforce the Queen’s role as a focus for national unity.
Credit: Dailymail, Youtube, SkyTV