1957 was a very special year for the British Monarchy. It had already become an annual tradition for the monarch to issue a Christmas message to people in the United Kingdom and around the world. But fifty years ago this Christmas, Queen Elizabeth II's message was televised for the first time.

In her broadcast, the Queen spoke about the technological developments that allowed her image to appear in people's homes around the nation, saying that "I very much hope that this new medium will make my Christmas message more personal and direct. That it is possible for some of you to see me today is just another example of the speed at which things are changing all around us."

This Christmas, fifty years later, we are thrilled to say that the British Monarchy is embracing another new technology by launching The Royal Channel on YouTube. By setting up the first ever channel from a monarchy, the Queen joins other world leaders including the French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the British Government in using online video to communicate with people around the globe.

Right now, you can visit The Royal Channel to see that first 1957 broadcast, along with other rare and previously unreleased archive footage. And at around 3pm BST on Christmas Day, this year's Christmas broadcast from the Queen appeared on YouTube as well as on television.

We're delighted to welcome the Queen to the YouTube community, and hope that you enjoy the unseen treasures on her channel as much as we have.

Update: Linked directly to the 2007 Christmas Broadcast.