die Queen Elizabeth II has been highly anticipated for years, and strong rumours on social media have foreshadowed it. For a woman of global influence, it’s fitting that today’s online conversation has been dominated by the Queen’s discussions.
For a 96-year-old representing an institution that dates back centuries, the Queen is more tech-savvy than many imagine. Elizabeth shatters stereotypes about women her age—through her superiors—as an avid follower of technology. In 1976, she sent her first email while visiting the Royal Signals and Radar Agency in Malvern, England, as part of the early development of ARPANET, the precursor to today’s global internet.
Queen’s username? HME2: Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. “All she had to do was push a few buttons,” Peter Kirstein, who helped set up the Queen’s email account at the time, told Wired in 2012.
She’s not just an early adopter of email. In 1997, she live-streamed the first version of the royal family’s website, years before some of the UK’s major newspapers decided to go live. A decade later, she launched her family’s YouTube channel, featuring rare footage of her first televised Christmas broadcast in 1957. She also posted her first tweet in 2014, when her ill health and the Covid lockdown stopped, she tapped her iPad and took to Zoom to meet her many in-person public events.
“I think the Queen is very savvy on the internet,” said Sadie Quinlan, the Prince’s YouTube anchor who posted under the name Yankee Wally. (Quinlan has been criticized for her anti-Meghan Markle commentary video.) “I think she knows what’s going on, I know she knows it’s crazy, and life on the internet goes on more than real life.”
But in recent years, the Queen, whose motto has been “never complain, never explain”, has become more than an early tech adopter. She has become a meme, deployed enthusiastically by social media users looking to make sarcastic comments about her peers. “The internet loves a quirky old lady,” says Idil Galip, who studies memes at the University of Edinburgh and runs the Meme Research Research Network. The Queen loves corgis, and at one point owned nine at a time, which also helped her win the love of the Internet public. “I think her love of animals is also a big reason why she’s enthralled,” Galip said. “The internet loves corgis, and so does the queen.”
The endless, listless life of building openings and public events has also given the Queen plenty of opportunities to become memes.from her The excitement of seeing cows As part of her 90th birthday celebrations in 2016, cutting a simple cake with a ceremonial sword by 2021, she showed the crowd the ability to play. “I think a lot of people also like to peek at the indifferent exterior of the royal family and say, ‘Oh, she’s just like us,’” Gallip said.