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The Queen knows how to throw a party

“Would you like to see the Tweet Suite?” asked the royal official genially. That’s not the sort of invitation you expect at Buckingham Palace. But Britain’s royal family is rapidly modernising itself in keeping with the times. Dipankar De Sarkar writes.

world Updated: Dec 02, 2011 01:00 IST
Dipankar De Sarkar

“Would you like to see the Tweet Suite?” asked the royal official genially. That’s not the sort of invitation you expect at Buckingham Palace. But Britain’s royal family is rapidly modernising itself in keeping with the times.

When Queen Elizabeth II invited 300 people from the world of media this week to kick off her Diamond Jubilee celebrations, it came with the usual Palace instructions along the lines of ‘no photography allowed.’ But none of us were prepared for the offer to actually send out tweets.

I don’t know if anyone took up the invitation. Popular radio DJ Fearne Cotton later tweeted that Prince Andrew had asked her to give him a “shout out” on her morning show the next day. But whether she actually tweeted from the Tweet Suite isn’t known. Certainly, most journalists looked too overwhelmed to have been tweeting.

One poor man even dropped his canapé and with it, he joked, his chances of being conferred a knighthood. Peter Barron, editor the regional Northern Echo newspaper, blogged sheepishly after dropping a goats cheese, beetroot and pureed pea canapé, that he left a “nasty green smudge” on the pretty pink carpet in the Queen’s Gallery, just underneath a Rembrandt.

The Queen, always charming (she’s the country’s favourite royal for a reason), told Barron she was pleased that a number of regional newspapers were present. “She might change her mind when she sees that green smudge on the carpet. I doubt that I’ll be back for a knighthood,” he added.

The Palace had invited a small number of Indian journalists, and both she and her eldest son, Prince Charles, spoke fondly of their visits to India. We are not allowed to report the conversations; otherwise, I too might have headed for the Tweet Suite, with a “Hey, guess what the Queen said!”