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21st Century Queen: How The Royal Family has embraced social media

It all started ten years ago in 2009 when the Royal Household created an official Twitter account. Now, a decade on, members of The Royal Family tweet, and The Queen Instagrams!

The official Twitter account of The Royal Family 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. The account started in humble beginnings with just 400 followers. Now, at the time of this article’s publication, almost four million people follow the royals on Twitter.

A year later in 2010, Clarence House created an official Twitter account separate from 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 announcing the engagement of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

This is the first time that a message of such importance was informally announced on social media.

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.

Although The Queen doesn’t regularly post to social media, she has done on certain occasions. In 2014 she sent her first ever tweet, and then did so again in 2016 thanking wellwishers on the occasion of her 90th birthday.

Her Majesty also posted to Instagram for the first time in March 2019, signing off with the customary ‘Elizabeth R’.

The first member of the family to join Twitter in person was Sarah, Duchess of York in May 2011. The Duchess regularly posts inspirational quotes on the micro-blogging site, as well as pictures of her daughters and ex-husband.

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”.

Even though Princess Beatrice created her Twitter account in late 2011, she has only been actively using the account for the past few years. The Princess currently has 100,000 followers and follows 105 people including her mother and father.

Other members of The Royal Family have tweeted on the odd occasion too including the Duke of Sussex and Countess of Wessex. However, the only official Twitter accounts are those of The Royal Family, Clarence House, Kensington Palace and the Office of the Duke of York.

However, with social media comes the inevitable abuse and trolls. In 2019, The Royal Household published new social media guidelines which ask all users who interact with their channels to act with “courtesy, kindness and respect.”

According to their statement, they ask anybody “engaging with our social media channels shows courtesy, kindness and respect for all other members of our social media communities.”

These days, social media is a powerful tool for The Royal Family, with dedicated press officers being hired to manage their accounts.

Daily updates of their activities are posted to the pages, along with photos and videos.

The Royal Family looks likely to continue embracing social media, and it is only a matter of time before The Queen gets Snapchatting.