By passing away, Thursday, September 8, at the age of 96, after 70 years of reign, the queen elizabeth He left behind a unique trace in modern history. It has left its mark throughout the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the new millennium. An importance which is not only due to her function, the place she occupied on the British throne, but also to her use of the media since her coronation, in 1952, and even before. Radio, especially TV, then more recently social networks, elizabeth He knew how to embrace technological modernity to better communicate and strengthen this unique relationship with his people.
“She was an outstanding communicator, one of the secrets of her longevity”
“Strengthening the link with the people was her obsession, that there is no gap that is widening between her and the British, to be in tune with her people”, confirms to publicenat.fr Stéphane Bern, specialist in the crown British. “She was an outstanding communicator. This is one of the secrets of its longevity and its popularity, ”appreciates Gaspard Gantzer, former communications adviser to François Hollande.
At 21, the one who is still Princess Elizabeth, heiress to the throne, gives a speech on the radio, from Cape Town, during a trip to South Africa. “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether long or short, will be devoted to your service,” the young girl swears, addressing the Commonwealth.
During the war, elizabeth sees his father, King George VI, speak directly to the people through the radio. A direct link with the population that the Queen will push much further. “During the war, she understood very quickly the importance of the radio, then that conveyed by the image. She had herself photographed as a mechanic,” recalls Stéphane Bern (see photo below). “It was the beginnings with George VI. As we saw in the film “The King’s Speech”, he was very apprehensive of speaking in public”, underlines the English journalist Alex Taylor. Blame it on serious speech difficulties. “He was not a great media specialist. But she did it much more naturally. elizabeth He learned to tame the media, while remaining in his role, until the end, where she realized that she could use them, in the second degree, ”estimates the British journalist.
Mandatory Credit: Photo By Rex Features QUEEN ELIZABETH II TRAINS AS ATS OFFICER – 1945 VARIOUS /REX80781d/1103171059
“At her coronation, she wore blue lipstick so her lips could appear on black and white TVs”
When she became queen in 1953, at the age of 25, she understood that times had changed. His coronation will be broadcast on television, this new medium in full swing. Better: it is the first event broadcast in mondovision (see video below). “It was she who absolutely wanted her coronation to be broadcast on television. This is a defining moment for all Britons. My parents bought their TV to watch it,” recalls Alex Taylor, “against everyone’s advice, elizabeth He imposed this choice. She then knows how to shake up the monarchy. Not for his benefit in reality, but for that of royalty.
1953: The coronation of Elizabeth II | INA Archive
“It was her husband who convinced her to allow the cameras into the sanctuary, to show the eyes of the world, and of the Commonwealth, what this ceremony represented. She has accepted. Churchill was against it, but she was for it,” specifies Stéphane Bern. The specialist in crowned heads says that she even “lent herself to the requests of television, which was in black and white at the time. She wore blue lipstick so her lips could show.” “She knew very well how to play with her image. When we watch the films, we see that she forgot the camera very quickly, ”says the TV and radio host, who adds:
She wanted it to democratize royal mystique, so that her subjects, her people, could have this direct link with her, through the media and television.
Television will then become his preferred mode of expression for many years. “She knew how to use the TV very well. She did very little, but had the appointment every year for her Christmas speech, made in one take. She spoke to the British people eye to eye. And when you look at it, for 70 years, it’s a moment that people have been waiting for, ”recalls Alex Taylor (see an excerpt from the 2021 Christmas message, below).
During her Christmas greetings, Elizabeth II confides that Prince Philip “misses her sorely”
“She knew that it was necessary to impose the long time, to have a rare word”
Communicate, but sparingly. elizabeth He was able, wisely, to be economical in his speeches. “She never gave an interview. Christmas messages were his way of expressing himself. And she only spoke three or other times: after Diana’s death, her mother’s death and during covid-19, ”adds Stéphane Bern.
“It’s one of the secrets of his longevity and popularity. She had this adage, “never explain, never complain”. Never justify yourself, never complain, even when attacked. She had a kind of distance from the vicissitudes of current events, from the culture of clash, which has recently imposed itself. She knew that it was necessary to impose the long time, to have a rare word, not to speak wrongly and through ”, underlines Gaspard Gantzer. “Attached to the monarchical ethic, she also had her own style, with her hats, her original outfits,” recalls the manager of Gantzer agency, who adds:
She succeeded in inventing a style of communication all in subtlety, small touches and sometimes humor, which does not spoil anything.
“A very good actress”, with “a lot of self-mockery”
“She put herself on stage a lot” too, underlines Alex Taylor, as during the London Olympics in 2012, where a short film shows her with Daniel Craig in his role as James Bond, on the occasion of the ceremony of opening. From Buckingham Palace, the Queen arrives at the stadium by helicopter with 007. “She was a very good actress”, notes the British journalist.
James Bond and The Queen London 2012 Performance
This is especially noticeable, more recently, when elizabeth He finds himself head to head for tea time, with the famous Paddington bear, last June. “It was a very nice, very moving wink,” smiles Alex Taylor. An exchange in computer-generated images, larger than life, where the queen is humorous. A character trait that she has long kept for her loved ones. “She had a lot of self-mockery, a lot of humor. She was laughing at herself. It’s very British,” appreciates Stéphane Bern.
The sketch had been broadcast on the occasion of the giant concert organized for its Platinum Jubilee. She was absent from the event, due to an already fragile health. The video made the rounds on social media. Buckingham Palace had, once again, followed the appearance of these new forms of communication.
“Very early on, the British monarchy put itself on all the networks”
“Very early on, the British monarchy got on all the networks,” confirms Stéphane Bern, “we found him gloves that allowed him to tweet on a touch screen. She was also the first to send an email. She thought that you always had to adapt to the changes of your time”. Proof of the new importance given to social networks: in June 2019, its services were looking for a Community manager “to animate the Twitter, Facebook and instagram of the queen, for a salary of 2,800 euros”, said BFM TV. Mission: “To find new ways to maintain the presence of the Queen in the public eye around the world”.
elizabeth II, queen who knew how to embrace modernity? “Yes, while refusing to sink into the all-spectacular and all-digital of the time”, according to Gazpar Gantzer. “I don’t know if his concern was to be modern. But rather to be visible, to be seen”, tempers Alex Taylor.
“It’s like the mother. We waited for her to speak when there was a crisis.
To be able to keep this privileged link and to be, until the end, the mother of the whole Nation. That’s what mattered, basically, to elizabeth II, present in important or difficult times, such as during the covid-19 crisis, in April 2020. Stéphane Bern: “It’s like the mother. We expected her to speak when there was a crisis.
Whether on via the BBC, media that will have accompanied her entire reign, until the announcement of her death, or social networks, she addresses her subjects in this painful moment. “We will meet again,” concludes the Queen. A reference to Vera Lynn’s 1939 song. “She was able to send messages, like during the covid, by quoting this song from the Second World War”, greets Alex Taylor. Linked to the Battle of Britain, the song occupies a special place in the British imagination, synonymous with hope.