Friday, 13 February 2009

Queen launches new website

by Kathryn Hadley
A reception was organised, yesterday, at Buckingham Palace for the launch of a new version of the royal site, a website dedicated to the royal family and its history. The Queen presided over the event in the company of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the British computer scientist who invented the World Wide Web. The website is the third version of the initial site that was made live in 1997, which has been updated with new historical documents and video and audio footage.

New features include extracts from Queen Victoria’s journal, in which she notably describes, on January 14th, 1878, first using the newly invented telephone following a conversation with Alexander Graham Bell. ‘Professor Bell explained the whole process which is most extraordinary [...] It is rather faint and one must hold the tube close to one's ear.’

Queen Elizabeth’s first public speech, aged 14, a three minute recording on BBC radio broadcast on October 31st 1940, and addressed to the tens of thousands of children who had been evacuated during the Second World War, is also featured.

‘Thousands of you in this country have had to leave your homes and be separated
from your fathers and mothers. My sister Margaret Rose and I feel so much for
you as we know from experience what it means to be away from those we love. We
would like to thank the kind people who have welcomed you to their homes. All of
us children who are still at home think continually of our friends and relations
who have gone overseas who have travelled thousands of miles to find a wartime
home and a kindly welcome in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and
the United States. I want on behalf of all the children at home to send you our
love and best wishes to you and to your kind hosts as well. I can truthfully say
to you all, that we children at home are full of cheerfulness and courage. We
are trying to do all we can to help our gallant airmen, soldiers and sailors and
we are trying to bear our own share of the danger and sadness of war. We know
everyone of us, that in the end, all will be well. For god will care for us and
give us victory and peace. And when peace comes remember it will be for us the
children of today to make the world of tomorrow a better and happier place. My
sister is by my side and we are both going to say goodnight to you and good luck
to you all.’

Other new interactive features include a Google map displaying the royal family’s past and future engagements, a virtual visit of Windsor Castle, videos of the Queen's latest speeches, a timeline of the history of the monarchy and picture galleries.
Approximately 250,000 people around the world visit the website each week. In the first year of its launch, the site recorded more than 100 million visits and in the week of Princess Diana’s funeral the site received around 35 million visits.

In the words of Sir Berners-Lee, the website:

‘celebrates a really important part of the British cultural tradition - the
monarchy - and is a great resource for the people within Britain, so it deepens
that culture. But at the same time it's there for anybody to see it from other
countries, where they really don't understand how the monarchy works - what it
does do, what it doesn't do - so now they can go and look.’

For more information on the role of the monarchy and its relationship with its subjects, read our articles:
>> Britain's Enchanted Monarchy: Tom Nairn considers the role of monarchy and its impact on British national identity
>> London and the Modern Monarchy: Penelope Corfield explores the interdependent relationship between crown and capital from the 17th century onwards

No comments:

Blog Directory