Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"… she doesn't have a lot to say"

Sometimes life imitates art in unexpected ways and with even less expected models. Consider the opening couplet by John Lennon and Paul McCartney for the 1969 Beatles' song "Her Majesty:"

Her Majesty's a pretty nice girl
But she doesn't have a lot to say

According to Peter Hunt, Royal correspondent for BBC News, Her Majesty may not have much to say; but she has found a new way to say it:

The Queen has taken the highly unusual step, for her, of sending a message via e-mail.

It has gone to 23 young people from across the world, who've written blogs about their lives and their experiences of the Commonwealth - which is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

Back in 1976, the Queen was a trendsetter. She became the first monarch to send an e-mail during a visit to an army base. She was demonstrating a technology in its infancy.

Personally, I am as interested in the Queen's interest in reading and responding to blogs as I am in her decision to use electronic mail, particularly in light of her past history with that technology. According to Hunt, the 23 bloggers received:

… an e-mail from Buckingham Palace. It is headlined, "A Message from Her Majesty the Queen" and it is signed, "Elizabeth R".

The Queen writes that she has read their accounts with interest. She goes on: "Today, we celebrate the values and aspirations of the Commonwealth which have sustained our family of nations throughout its history and which I hope will equally inspire generations to come."

As Lennon and McCartney wrote, Her Majesty didn't have a lot to say; but it was still an interesting way to say something on the sixtieth anniversary of the Commonwealth. Hunt added one further interesting observation:

The e-mail address used will pretty quickly disappear into the ether. Was it, one wonders, queen.elizabeth@royal.gov.uk?

The implication seems to be that any of these bloggers trying to respond are likely to be frustrated. On the other hand there has yet to be word on how many of those messages were received. Would an address like the one Hunt suggested be caught by my spam filter? What did the Subject line say, I wonder? If I had seen the header, would I have expected to read yet another message about a frozen bank account containing several million pounds sterling?

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