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Posted at 8:35 AM ET, 11/16/2010

Prince William's engagement news comes courtesy of Twitter

By Liz Kelly

MORE: How did royals get the word out before Twitter?


Prince William and girlfriend Kate Middleton at the wedding of their friends Harry Mead and Rosie Bradford in October. (AP)
Photo Gallery: Prince William to wed Kate Middleton in 2011

For more than a year now, royal watchers have been breathlessly awaiting news from Buckingham Palace announcing the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton. The pomp, the formality, the promise of insanely formal, jewel-encrusted doings reserved for the royal family but available for oohing and aahing over by we mere mortals.

As it turns out, Buckingham Palace chose the same medium Courtney Love and Lindsay Lohan use to quickly clue in the world when they had major news: Twitter.

Although Prince Charles's office did issue a formal statement announcing the happy news, it was somewhat scooped by the accompanying tweet that distilled the official confirmation of the first major royal wedding of the new millennium into a 148-character (yes, a tad long) social media post:


In my Twitter feed, the news was almost lost between brain droppings from Kanye West, Tila Tequila, Pam Anderson and our own Chris Cillizza.

The royal family only started dipping their blue-blooded toes into social media recently. Tuesday's announcement of Wills's engagement was just the seventh Twitter missive from Prince Charles's official account, which announced itself November 15 with a hearty: "Welcome!" The royals has also made a splashy arrival on Facebook, debuting pages for several members of the family -- including Queen Elizabeth, Prince William and Prince Harry.

In addition, the royal family has an official Flickr account and set up its own video channel on YouTube in 2007, according to the Associated Press.

Is the family simply keeping up with 21st-century technology? Or are the royals grasping at tweets and pokes in a bid to remain relevant?

For watchers on this side of the Atlantic, the royals became somewhat of an ongoing reality show 29 years ago, when Princess Diana married Prince Charles (See photos of their nuptials and other famous royal weddings here). Diana allowed unprecedented access, gave candid interviews and became a star in her own right. Since her death in 1997, her sons have basked in the afterglow of Diana's press adoration. They are, after all, the future of the monarchy.

A bit of advice, though, to the palace's Web team: For search engine optimization purposes, the Twitter announcement would have been more search-friendly written a bit more informally. Something like this:

Prince William 2 marry Kate Middleton in 2011. OMG! #royalwedding

More Celebritology coverage:

Last week, the rumor mill started churning again with word that an engagement was imminent.

Us Weekly claimed to have confirmation of a 2011 wedding.

Back in June Star magazine claimed Kate was carrying a royal bun in the oven. Buckingham Palace called the report "complete nonsense."

And the world reacts:

By Liz Kelly  | November 16, 2010; 8:35 AM ET
Categories:  Relationships, Royals  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Pick the animated movie on the Oscar short list that does not belong
Next: Julianne Hough admits she's dating Ryan Seacrest; Carey Mulligan to star in 'Great Gatsby'?

Comments

I'm pretty sure that's 132 characters, not 148.

Posted by: westenddc | November 16, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

The Royal Family is hardly relevant. They are, however, an institution. One that's lasted an exceedingly long time, because they eventually adapt to modern culture. Sometimes it's kicking and screaming, but they do so.

As for the Twitter announcement? My god, it's been everywhere the past few weeks that they were actually engaged. I don't think it mattered where or when they announced it.

I just wish Kate Middleton the best of luck. I don't envy her. But she has had 8 years to observe and prepare, so hopefully, it works out well for her and Prince William.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | November 16, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

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