British queen’s website gets makeover

February 13th, 2009 - 12:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Princess DianaLondon, Feb 13 (DPA) If there’s anything you want to know about the British monarchy, just go the website: that is the message of an online offensive launched by Queen Elizabeth II.
Anyone seeking employment as a royal butler, or keen to find out the names of the queen’s four Corgis, can do so at the click of a mouse on

As is fit for a queen, the 82-year-old monarch hired Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the worldwide web, to revamp the British monarchy website, first launched 12 years ago, for the advanced digital age.

Back in 1997, when the image of the monarchy was battered by the outpouring of grief over the death of Princess Diana, the queen’s initiative to enhance transparency by going online was little more than a desperate exercise in damage limitation.

But the idea proved a hit. More than 100 million people visited the site in its first 12 months - a figure that has now increased to an average 250,000 users per week.

“Each country needs to celebrate its own culture. Britain needs to reach out to the world, there are many people across the world who would like to find out more about the monarchy,” Berners-Lee said at the launch in Buckingham Palace Thursday.

The revamp overseen by him introduces a number of new features.

It offers virtual tours of Buckingham Palace and other royal residences and, for the first time, gives the viewer access to videos of key historic events, such as the 1953 coronation and the then future queen’s first public speech at the height of war in 1940.

Apart from rare archive material, users will be able to access the royal diary of engagements, fully integrated with Google Maps, and see all the clips currently available on the popular Royal Channel on YouTube, launched in 2007.

The YouTube videos, which attract millions of viewers, include short documentaries on the history of the monarchy, clips from Christmas broadcasts going back 50 years and news footage from royal weddings.

While, back in 1997, the queen described the world surrounding the Internet as a “bit of a mystery”, she has since embraced the new technology to the full, a spokeswoman said.

The queen had been “heavily involved” in the revamp and was “determined” to make her website more user-friendly and relevant to modern-day society.

Although she only started to use a computer two years ago, the queen is known to be in regular e-mail contact with her grandchildren, who also gave her an iPod on which she reportedly listens to the annual Last Night of the Proms concert.

Under the section Royal Pets, the user will learn that the queen’s four corgis - Linnet, Monty, Willow and Holly - travel with her to the various residences, with “Her Majesty looking after them herself as much as possible given her busy schedule”.

The user is informed that, among the many animal gifts the queen has received from hosts and well-wishers around the globe are giraffes, turtles, cheetahs and sloths.

“These are not kept by the royal household but are instead given to zoos or wildlife sanctuaries where they can be properly cared for.”

Jobseekers will learn that the palace is currently looking for trainee butlers, housekeepers, ticket sellers and wardens.

Applicants are advised to undergo security clearance and medical checks, while those “who do not have a right to work in the UK” are told to not even try.

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