By: Nick Gambino
As the world sat on the edge of their seat waiting to catch a glimpse of the Queen of England herself tap a small screen and share her first Instagram post, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “This is all a bit ridiculous.”
As I watched her step to the podium at the Science Museum, elegantly remove her glove and tap the screen to publish the post, my feeling of scoff was quickly replaced by excitement and then – yes, I’ll admit it – cheer. The 92-year-old monarch had, with a simple gesture, brought centuries upon centuries of royalty into the 21st century.
It’s not that younger members of the royal family haven’t been technologically inclined or even active with regard to social media, but Queen Elizabeth is different. She represents the throne itself and has since 1952. There’s something about her that carries the weight of only the few that have come before. Also, if I’m being honest, it’s as cute as my 100-year old grandmother sending a text for the first time. I’d have to have a heart made of coal to not find joy in it.
As another Instagram post explains, the throne has had a long history with technology, “from Queen Victoria trying out the new invention “the telephone” in 1878, to the first televised Christmas Broadcast in 1957.”
Now, this post was not shared on a personal account set up for Queen Elizabeth. Instead, it was shared on the royal family’s Instagram account, but it was clearly her message. The post included a photo of an 1843 letter found in the Royal Archives addressed to the Queen’s great-great-grandfather Prince Albert.
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Today, as I visit the Science Museum I was interested to discover a letter from the Royal Archives, written in 1843 to my great-great-grandfather Prince Albert. Charles Babbage, credited as the world’s first computer pioneer, designed the “Difference Engine”, of which Prince Albert had the opportunity to see a prototype in July 1843. In the letter, Babbage told Queen Victoria and Prince Albert about his invention the “Analytical Engine” upon which the first computer programmes were created by Ada Lovelace, a daughter of Lord Byron. Today, I had the pleasure of learning about children’s computer coding initiatives and it seems fitting to me that I publish this Instagram post, at the Science Museum which has long championed technology, innovation and inspired the next generation of inventors. Elizabeth R. PHOTOS: Supplied by the Royal Archives © Royal Collection Trust / Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019
“Today, I had the pleasure of learning about children’s computer coding initiatives and it seems fitting to me that I publish this Instagram post, at the Science Museum which has long championed technology, innovation and inspired the next generation of inventors,” the post said. She signed off on her inaugural post with a simple “Elizabeth R.”
Next up, the Queen fights off zombie hordes in Virtual Reality.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.