King of the Radio

The 1920s was a decade for technological innovation, particularly for electrical goods in homes. While the radio is often considered the best example of this, the monarch of the decade, George V, was initially very sceptical about the new technology.

King George was first approached to present a radio broadcast in 1922, shortly after the creation of the British Broadcasting Corporation, however, he declined, stating that radio was mainly for entertainment purposes. It was not until a decade later, when the BBC director-general John Reith approached George for a second time, that the King accepted the request of a radio appearance. In 1932, George V read the first Royal Christmas Message, which was scripted by Rudyard Kipling, and reached an estimated 20 million people across Australia, Canada, India, Kenya, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

This began the tradition of broadcasted Royal Christmas Messages, which became televised in 1957 and continues to the present day.