Queen Elizabeth II will broadcast her annual Christmas message to Britain and the Commonwealth in 3D television for the first time, Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday.

Exactly 80 years after her grandfather king George V first started broadcasting a speech on December 25, the queen will embrace the new technology to mark her Diamond Jubilee year.

"The Queen's annual Christmas Message will be broadcast in 3D television for the first time," the palace said.

"The message, to be broadcast at 3:00 pm (1500 GMT) on Christmas Day, will also be available in standard definition and high definition," the palace said.

The 86-year-old monarch delivered her first televised message in 1957 and she has made a broadcast every subsequent year except one, in 1969, when a repeat of a documentary about the British royal family was shown instead.

The queen delivered the first message live, but in recent years she has pre-recorded them.

The first Christmas broadcast was made on radio by George V in 1932.

The speech is one of the rare occasions when the queen is able to voice her own views, since as a constitutional monarch she has to remain strictly neutral in political affairs.

She writes the speech herself and often draws on her own experiences, while at the same time reflecting current issues.