The older generation are often criticised for their reluctance to embrace new technologies. But in the UK we lead from the front, and today our 92-year-old monarch posted her first ever Instagram to the Royal Family Instagram page on a visit to South Kensington’s Science Museum.
The picture in question, was an image of a letter from 19th century computing pioneer Charles Babbage, to the Queen’s great-great grandfather, Prince Albert. She signed the post off ‘Elizabeth R’.
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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
The Queen was at the Science Museum to unveil the museum’s latest exhibition, Top Secret, and formally open the new Smith Centre. After posting the image via an iPad to the royal account that was launched in 2013 and has now amassed 4.6 million followers, there was great applause from a crowd of school children, teachers and parents. The Queen was dressed in a spring orange top hat and coat, with a sparkling brooch, over a green flowered dress and warm black gloves.
As part of the visit, the Queen also enjoyed looking at an enigma machine and the computer on which the World Wide Web was created. The Queen finished her Instagram post saying, ‘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 Science Museum is a place for firsts – on the Queen’s last visit to the place in 2014 she sent her first tweet. Similarly, in the days that e-mail was in its infancy, the Queen sent her first ‘electronic mail’ in 1976 during an engagement at a military base. It was at the Google offices in St Giles that the Queen first uploaded a video to YouTube during a visit in 2008.