The Queen may talk proper online soon

I was amused to read last week that Queen Elizabeth II has commanded (well, contracted, I suppose) Tim Berners Lee to fix her web site. Nothing but the best! is pretty stuffy at present. Take a peek while you can: the new version will appear on 12 February. Video clips make the site more exciting than it was 10 years ago, but they're shown in the YouTube context, so you have the delight of seeing QUEEN jostling The Queen.

The current site has been added to... and added to... and added to. Inevitably, navigation is a shambles.

But if I remember correctly, not much else has changed — including the mean little font and the pompous language. Words are emitted into the ether from a great height. One supposes that one would expect one's monarch — or rather, her communications staff — to err on the side of formality when addressing the hoi polloi. Still, let's hope the makeover includes a few pronouns, especially "you" and the plebeian "we".

Here's a taste of the de haut en bas tone:

The British Monarchy Media Centre is managed by Buckingham Palace Press Office.

It is intended to provide a dedicated resource for members of the print, broadcast and online media in the UK, Commonwealth and worldwide, and to aid members of the public interested in the daily programme of members of the Royal Family, speeches by members of the Royal Family, or seeking information about previous Royal engagements.

How kind. Shame about the grammar. But that's what you get when you launch into a 55-word sentence. I hope Tim will tell you that.

The Queen herself is said to be driving the revamp:

Now, at an age – she is 82 – when many of her contemporaries are turning their backs on new technology, the Queen is determined to make her website – first launched 12 years ago – more user friendly and relevant to modern-day society.



Rachel McAlpine
Rachel McAlpine


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