Technology innovations shaped the world in which Queen Elizabeth II reigned. She embraced all. Perhaps it's because she realized the connection media technology -- and ultimately, the internet -- could create between the monarchy and people. The 96-year-old, who represented an institution dating back centuries, was more tech-savvy than many imagined.
It’s well known that she led the monarchy through 15 U.K. prime ministers and U.S. presidents, from Harry Truman to Joe Biden.
It may be less well known that she defied stereotypes about women of her age, especially when it came to technology.
Her majesty broadcast her first Christmas message nearly 65 years ago, as she recognized the need to reach people, and understood that technology advancements could create that connection.
With help from her staff, she sent her first email when visiting the Royal Signals and Radar Establishment in Malvern, England, in 1976 as part of the early development of Arpanet, the precursor to today’s internet, according to a detailed report on her tech savviness.
The queen’s email name was HME2. It stood for Her Majesty, Elizabeth II.
“All she had to do was press a couple of buttons,” Peter Kirstein, the man who helped set up the queen’s email account back then, told WIRED in 2012.
In 1997, she launched the first version of the royal family’s website, years before some major UK newspapers decided to go online, according to Wired. In 2007, she launched the family’s YouTube channel with video of the first televised Christmas Broadcast in 1957.
The Queen also made a video call to speak with astronauts on the International Space Station in 2007 at Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland.
Her first tweet, sent in 2014, followed, along with her use of an iPad for Zoom meetings as her health failed and Covid lockdowns curtailed many of her in-person public appearances.
The Queen’s 1953 coronation was a major TV event, driving an increase in sales of home sets, according to one report. It wasn’t just filmed in color. It was recorded using experimental 3D technology.
King Charles III, who steps in for his mother, will need to walk a similar path to connect with people. Only 32% of YouGov’s political tracker believes Charles will make a good king, posted on May 2022. A similar study suggests the queen got a 81% approval rating.