The BBC and the making of a multi-national monarchy

Thomas Hajkowski

in The BBC and National Identity in Britain, 1922-53

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780719079443
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702314 | DOI:
The BBC and the making of a multi-national monarchy

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This chapter argues that the BBC played a pivotal role in helping to remake the monarchy into a symbol of British diversity. The BBC presented the coronations of George VI and Elizabeth II as celebrations of Britain's multi-national make-up. Each of the BBC's regions carried its own special coronation programmes, and the regional networks covered royal visits to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland extensively. Each region related to the monarchy in its own way, and the BBC persistently pointed out the multi-national nature of the monarchy. The monarchy and the BBC found their relationship mutually beneficial. George V and other royal broadcasters gave radio a legitimacy it was lacking in the early years of broadcasting. The BBC, in turn, helped maintain the popularity of the monarchy by providing it with a powerful new means of communication. The BBC projected the monarchy as an apt representation of the diversity of Great Britain and the British Empire and framed monarchy as an ideal that united Britons under the umbrella of Britishness, but also respected other national, regional and local identities.

Keywords: multi-national monarchy; George VI; Elizabeth II; Scotland; Wales; Northern Ireland; the monarchy

Chapter.  11261 words. 

Subjects: Film

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