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Queen ends BBC monopoly of her Christmas broadcast

In apparent retaliation for its tell-all interview with Princess Diana, Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday ended the BBC's 60-year monopoly on carrying her annual Christmas broadcast.

Buckingham Palace said Britain's commercially funded Independent Television network will produce and broadcast the queen's holiday address for the next two years.

Afterward, the assignment will alternate between the British Broadcasting Corp. and ITV.

The BBC's relations with the palace were strained by its Nov. 20 scoop, when Diana confessed to adultery and doubts about Prince Charles' ability to govern during an hourlong broadcast.

But a palace spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the move was being considered before Diana's interview.

The queen's Christmas message is beamed on radio and television across the 53-nation Commonwealth, the association of Britain and former colonies, and is heard by millions.