The Queen logs on to YouTube

The Queen's Christmas message, an annual greeting from the U.K.'s Queen Elizabeth II to her subjects, will be available on YouTube for the first time this year as part of an official YouTube channel opened on Sunday by Buckingham Palace.

The Royal Channel, dubbed "the official YouTube channel of the British monarchy," carries both current and archive footage of the royal family and promises regular updates with new video.

The highlight of the first 18 videos is the first televised Christmas Broadcast of 1957. The channel also includes clips of The Queen Mother's wedding and the first episodes of several series such as "A day in the life of The Prince of Wales."

The clips have already attracted several thousand views since hitting YouTube about a week ago, according to statistics on the site. The 1957 broadcast has garnered a lot more attention and had just under 300,000 views at time of writing. That makes it the fifth most popular video viewed in the U.K. this week, according to YouTube.

Beating The Queen to the top-spot in the U.K. is a trailer for a new season of TV show "Lost," a teaser for the long-awaited "Duke Nukem Forever" computer game, a clip of the winning entry from TV show "X Factor" and, as the most-viewed video of the week in the U.K., a video from a Britney Spears look-a-like offering parenting tips to Britney's pregnant sister.

Buckingham Palace established its cyber credentials last year when it began offering The Queen's Christmas Message and other addresses via an RSS feed for download into iPods and other video players. Until then it had been most widely available online through the BBC's Web site.

This year's Christmas Message will be available shortly after 3pm local time (3pm GMT) on Dec. 25, at about the same time it is broadcast on British TV.

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