The news of the royal engagement last week generated worldwide delight and unleashed ‘Royal Wedding Fever’ upon the nation. Following months, if not years, of rumour and speculation it was via the modern medium of Twitter that Clarence House confirmed the good news that so many had anticipated. Established just days before the official announcement, the page already has a respectable legion of followers that is sure to grow in the coming months with the build up to the day itself.
However, the use of Twitter is not the first time the Windsors have dabbled in social media. Established in 2007, The Royal Channel on YouTube currently boasts a subscriber list in the tens of thousands, and views amounting in the millions. This raises the question, in an age where the monarchy can seem dated and out of touch, can social media through the formation of informal but more personal connections play a vital role in closing the gap between subject and monarchy?
Undoubtedly, the use of Twitter et al has made the British monarchy more relevant today; perhaps more so than ever with the engagement of William and Kate who are themselves a thoroughly modern couple by traditional royal standards. By diminishing the snobbery surrounding online authoritativeness, the royal move to engage in social media can only prove positive in a bid to stay connected in the modern day. That said, decorum maintains that to ‘poke’ even the Duke of Edinburgh may be overstepping the appropriate mark.
Nevertheless, I have no doubt that avid tweeters will be following further announcements closely as the wedding developments get underway; an event which will surely be the most high-profile and eagerly awaited of 2011.