March 20, 2014
2014 Queen’s Speech to be Broadcast Live as Google+ Hangout On Air? (April Fools!)
Reports suggest that this Christmas’s Queen’s Speech is to be broadcast as a live Google+ Hangout for the first time. Indications are that it is to be shown on 25th December at 2pm – controversially an hour before it is broadcast on television.
Above: How the Royal Hangout could appear in the Google+ Hangout format.
The proposed move is already being both criticised and praised as an attempt to bring the outdated Royal Family into the 21st Century and to enable Brits to relate more closely to the Royals. Ahead of any announcements from Buckingham Palace, it is believed that other members of the Royal Family will also be sitting in on the hangout from their various locations on Christmas Day.
Journalist and Royalist Lisa Plofor welcomes the idea, stating that “this is a landmark opportunity for the British public to ‘hang out’ with the monarchy and to see them brought together as a family online at Christmas”.
The ‘Christmas Speech’ tradition began in 1932 with a live radio broadcast by King George V on the BBC Empire Service. Since 1960, the speech has been pre-recorded, gradually adopting televisual technology such as colour and 3D, but this will be the first Google+ Hangout broadcast. In the same vein, on the 31st January, President Obama answered questions from 9 American citizens via Google+ Hangouts, and so the Royal Hangout would not be the first high profile broadcast of this sort.
As Google looks to promote its Google+ platform to gain more UK users, commentators have questioned whether it is appropriate for the Royals to be favouring an internationally-based business for the broadcast. Skype set its status to ‘Busy’ when asked to comment.
As the Royal Family embrace the digital world, how long will it be until we see Prince Harry on Tinder, Facebook profiles for the corgis, and baby George on Snapchat? Lisa Plofor also speculated whether Harry will be involved in the Christmas Hangout, joking that “it may depend on how much port he has with lunch”.