The British Royal Family has embraced modern technology since the late 19th Century, with the invention of the telephone, radio, television and the Internet.

19th Century

1878 – Queen Victoria meets Alexander Graham Bell and tries out his new invention, the telephone, and makes a note in her diary.

Queen Victoria: the first to use a telephone.

A Professor Bell explained the whole process which is most extraordinary.

20th Century

1918 – King George V’s letter is the first ever mass communication from a reigning monarch as it was reproduced using lithography to all returning prisoners of wars.

The Queen joins me in welcoming you on your release from the miseries and hardships, which you have endured with so much patience and courage.

King George V in 1923. Photo: United States Library of Congress

1932 – King George V makes his first radio Christmas Broadcast.

I speak now from my home and from my heart to you all; to men and women so cut off by the snows, the desert, or the sea, that only voices out of the air can reach them.

1937 – King George VI’s Coronation procession becomes the first televised outside broadcast.

1940 – Princess (later Queen) Elizabeth) makes her first ever radio broadcast with Princess Margaret on Children’s Hour on the BBC.

In wishing you all ‘good evening’ I feel that I am speaking to friends and companions who have shared with my sister and myself many a happy Children’s Hour.

1947 – The Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) dedicates her life to the service of the Commonwealth via a radio broadcast from South Africa on her 21st birthday.

I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service.

Princess Elizabeth’s 21st Birthday Speech.

Video: YouTube/British Pathe

1953 – The Queen allows television cameras inside Westminster Abbey for her Coronation, the first time during a State occasion. Half a million TV sets are sold during the weeks before the event.

1957 – Queen Elizabeth gives her first live Christmas Broadcast on television and mentions the benefits of new technology.

That it is possible for some of you to see me today is just another example of the speed at which things are changing all around us … television has made it possible for many of you to see me in your homes.

1958 – The Queen makes the first phone trunk (long distance) call from Bristol to Edinburgh.

1976 – The Queen becomes the first Monarch to send an email during a visit to an army base.

1997 – The Queen launches the Royal Family’s Official website –  www.royal.gov.uk – during a visit to Kingsbury High School in Brent.

21st Century

2002 –  An Internet-based virtual press office accredits 3,521 journalists from over 60 countries to cover events to mark The Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

2006 – The Christmas Broadcast, or ‘Queen’s speech’ is podcast for the first time.

2007 – The Queen launches the first official British Royal Family Channel on YouTube: www.youtube.com/theroyalchannel

2008 – The Queen uploads a video to YouTube during a visit to the ‘Google’ offices in London.

2009 – A redeveloped version of www.royal.gov.uk is launched by The Queen.

A British Monarchy Twitter account is launched – @RoyalFamily

There are now four official Royal Twitter accounts.

  • @RoyalFamily – Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the Royal Family, including the Princess Royal and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
  • @KensingtonRoyal – The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
  • @ClarenceHouse – The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall
  • @TheDukeofYork – The Duke of York, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie

2010 – The Queen visited Research in Motion (RIM) headquarters in Toronto on her visit to Canada.

The British Royal Family launch a Flickr account – www.flickr.com/photos/britishmonarchy – and Facebook account – www.facebook.com/TheBritishMonarchy

2011 – Millions of people around the world were able to watch the first ever YouTube Live stream of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding in real-time.

2013 – The British Monarchy launch their Instagram account: www.instagram.com/theroyalfamily

2014 – The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry held the first Royal Google Hangout at Buckingham Palace, to mark the launch of The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme. They spoke to four people, aged between 18 and 29, from around the Commonwealth about their work to make a difference in their communities.

2016 – A redeveloped Royal Website is launched www.royal.uk.

2017 – The Royal Family’s first ever Facebook Live stream took place in the ballroom at Buckingham Palace at a Queen’s Young Leaders Award ceremony.

Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank leave St George’s Chapel with their bridal attendants, parents and siblings. Photo: The Royal Family

2018 – The Opening Ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting was live streamed for the first time on Facebook from Buckingham Palace.

The Prince of Wales delivered a message from The Queen live on Facebook in Australia during the opening of The Commonwealth Games.

Millions were able to watch live streams of both The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding and Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank’s wedding simultaneously on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

2019 – Queen Elizabeth posts her first Instagram message during a visit to the Science Museum, with a message about Prince Albert.

Source: The Royal Family, Her Majesty Shares Instagram Post.

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