British Queen joins Facebook; just don't try and poke her

Posted by Emma Woollacott

It's a tough life being a queen. Last week, Britain's Elizabeth II visited a salt factory and a jelly factory, as well as giving audiences to a startling number of foreign big-wigs.

And how do we know this? Through Facebook updates, of course. This morning the royal household's page went live, and the Queen already has getting on for 44,000 friends, all eager to know what she had for breakfast and whether she met any interesting talent at that Embassy dinner last night.

The monarchy is no stranger to social networking. After Buckingham Palace was opened up to the public in 1993 - the plebs wanted to see what their money was being spent on and how to really carry off that flock wallpaper/gilt chandelier look - the royal household started on a charm offensive.

Last year, it launched its own Twitter page, with a Flickr site following soon after.

The hope was perhaps that if the commoners could see what the Queen was up to from the comfort of their own homes, they'd be less likely to traipse dirt across her carpets and try and sneak a look at her bedroom.

Users will be able to send messages and leave comments - although they're warned that offensive messages will be deleted. Interestingly, one message asking: "Why is my money being spent on this parasite when we [are] suffering massive cuts in our public services?" remains.

She's a bit slow getting back to people though, and hasn't yet answered the question about how to dispose of corgi poo. And there are some notable omissions from the page: users can't add the Queen as a friend - and, no, they can't poke her.