It all started in 2009 when the Royal Household created an official Twitter account. Now, five years on, the general public can personally communicate with members of the Royal Family via social media; how times have changed.
The official British Monarchy Twitter account was created on 28th April 2009 as an account to tweet royal engagements and news. At the time, The Queen was aware that the account was up and running, and a spokesperson said “no members of the Royal Family would be tweeting. Among the first tweets sent from the account was a picture of The Queen meeting Poet Laureate Professor Carol Ann Duffy at Buckingham Palace, as well as updates on the changing of the Guard, which still happens today. Soon after the account was created, over 400 people followed it. Today, over 600,000 follow the British Monarchy. In comparison, anti-monarchist group Republic created a Twitter account in January 2009; today, they have 10,000 followers.
A year later in 2010, Clarence House created an official Twitter account separate to the original British Monarchy account so people can keep up-to-date with The Prince of Wales and his family. Soon after the account was created, one of the most important tweets in recent history was sent:
The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton – Clarence House, November 2010
This is the first time that a message was informally sent on social media, and was retweeted by thousands of people including the British Monarchy account.
Also in late 2010, Buckingham Palace, in collaboration with Clarence House and the Royal Collection, launched the British Monarchy Facebook page. Like Twitter, users cannot actually friend The Queen on the site, but the latest news and engagements are posted there. The Queen now reportedly embraces the Internet, and even reportedly sends emails.
The first member of the family to join Twitter in person was Sarah, Duchess of York in April 2011. In her Twitter bio, she describes herself as “proud mother of Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. Sarah, Duchess of York is an author, producer and advocate for women and children everywhere”.
Two years later, Sarah’s former husband, The Duke of York joined Twitter – in July 2013. Prince Andrew occasionally tweets personally but, most of the time, his team posts updates and news about The Prince’s engagements. His Highness’s first tweet was “Welcome to my Twitter account – AY”. His tweets bear his signature, “AY”. Initially, he did not follow his ex-wife but that was soon sorted. Earlier this year, The Duke made his debut on Facebook with the warning on his account “Any offensive or inappropriate comments will be deleted”.
Even though Princess Beatrice created her Twitter account in late 2011, she has only been actively using the account for the past couple of months. The Princess currently has over 11,000 followers, and has sent very few updates. She currently follows 83 people including her mother and father. This raises the question, if Princess Beatrice had a Twitter account since 2011, are there other monitoring accounts that the younger Royals use but are not yet known?
In recent months, there have been a lot of accounts claiming to be members of the Royal Family which people have been falling for. Impostors are claiming to be people such as The Duchess of Cambridge, Duke of Cambridge, Countess of Wessex and even Prince George. One should also note the account @Queen_UK is a satirical parody account, so do not be fooled by its 1.1 million followers.
Photo credit: Twitter