Diamond Jubilee: A technological view of Queen's reign

Ella Pickover

The Queen lives a life surrounded by traditions and customs, but that does not stop her from keeping up with the latest trends.

During her reign, she has encountered a rapidly changing world of technology, seemingly taking all of it in her stride. In her first televised Christmas broadcast in 1957, she spoke of the "speed at which things change around us".

The grainy black and white picture of a young Elizabeth, dressed in a shimmering gown with a string of pearls around her neck, epitomised a significant step for the Royal Family.

It was one of the first bold strides taken by the monarch to keep up with her ever-changing nation.

"Twenty-five years ago, my grandfather broadcast the first of these Christmas messages. Today is another landmark because television has made it possible for many of you to see me in your homes," she said.

"That it is possible for you to see me today is just another example of the speed at which things are changing all around us."

In the last six decades, the Queen has seen the advent of popular colour television, mobile phones and the internet. Under her command, television cameras were allowed inside Westminster Abbey for the first time to film her Coronation. More than half a million extra television sets were sold in the weeks running up to the event in 1953.

Five years later, she made the first ever trunk call in the United Kingdom. Speaking from Bristol, she called the Lord Provost of Edinburgh 300 miles away.

"In time, the whole of the United Kingdom will enjoy the advantages of this new service which the Post Office has introduced," she told him before ringing off.

The call lasted two minutes five seconds and cost 10d (4p).

When email technology was in its infancy, the Queen became the first monarch to send one of the
electronic messages in 1976 during a visit to an Army base. She is now reported to have a BlackBerry, so she can check her emails on the move. It was claimed that she purchased one of the devices on the advice of her most technically savvy son, the Duke of York.

In 2009, she sent an email to 23 young people from across the world, who wrote blogs about their lives and their experiences of the Commonwealth - which was celebrating its 60th anniversary.
Her grandchildren have purportedly been extremely helpful with keeping her up to date with the latest technological trends.

The concept of video-sharing website YouTube was explained to her by Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie before she launched her own channel on the site in 2007 to promote the British monarchy.
Her own website, www.royal.gov.uk, was launched in 1997 during a visit to Kingsbury High School in Brent, north west London.

The site holds the latest news about the Royal Family, information on the history of the monarchy along with images and videos. However, it has been reported that it has taken the Queen some time to acquaint herself with some devices.

In 2005, she reportedly told Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, that she had not yet used a computer. Since then, she has embraced the internet and other major advances, ensuring the monarchy remains at the forefront of the technological sphere.

In 2006, her annual Christmas address was podcast for the first time. She has personally uploaded a video on to YouTube, during a visit to the Google offices in London in 2008.
To mark the visit, the search engine changed its logo for the day to feature a profile of the monarch and a crown.

She is also said to own a number of iPods - one reportedly given to her as a gift by US President Barack Obama and another from the Duke of Cambridge - which are said to contain classical music including the Last Night Of The Proms.

Videos uploaded to the YouTube channel have received more than 34 million views to date.
Last year, the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was streamed live on the site. The day after the royal nuptials, the Royal YouTube channel was the most-viewed channel on the website.
Between 2009 and 2010, the Queen strode into the social media sphere and allowed aides to create a Facebook page and Twitter and Flickr accounts.

More than half a million people subscribe to the Facebook page while 300,000 follow the Twitter feed.