First off, do you mind if I call you Queen? I don't want to come off as
disrespectful, but ''Her Royal Highness Elizabeth Head of the Commonwealth,
Defender of the Faith'' just didn't fit on the address line of my e-mail
It's my understanding that you're new to the Web and new to Net travel as
well. I see your site -- http://www.royal.gov.uk -- went live on Thursday.
And I hear from those who saw you on the tube (or, as you say, ''the
telly'') that you actually sat down at the keyboard yourself, rather than
letting some footman (some Web-man?) do the driving.
Well, bully for you! Truly, now the sun never sets on the British
Empire. At any hour of the day or night, someone -- probably a schoolchild
in a faraway land your family used to control -- will be dialing you up for
a school report or perhaps just a chat. That's so kewl! (Or, as you would
probably say, ''Smashing!'')
I should mention that I'm not a subject of yours, just a lowly Net serf
in a far outpost of the former American colonies called ''Silicon Valley.''
Even though one of your cats, Sir Francis Drake, went boating up this way
once, this place was never under the Union Jack. This was Spanish
territory, then Mexican territory, and at the moment it's ruled by a bunch
of guys from the Order of the Geek -- Sir Larry of Oracle, Sir Andy of
Intel, Sir Marc of Netscape and others.
King Bill, of the House of Microsoft, maintains his castle in a dark,
dank place far to the north of here. But he treats this as an important
colony. Considering the amount of sectarian strife around here between the
Wintel camp and the Macolytes, I guess you could say this is his own little
But enough about me and mine. As for that Web site of yours, I hope
you'll permit me to offer a few pieces of advice:
First off, I heard you are the richest woman on the face of planet Earth
-- but it looks as if your Web site was done on the cheap by some intern
with an ''HTML in Seven Days'' book. You really need to open Her Majesty's
checkbook and lay out a little scratch for a RealAudio server so your home
page can play ''God Save the Queen'' when somebody clicks on the big crown.
While you're at it, some animated GIFs of the marching Beefeaters would
really pump it up, too.
I would go easy on pictures of your fancy houses (I mean, c'mon, who do
you think you are -- Bill Gates?) and go for some live content that will
keep those subjects coming back. If you had one of these new Java-based
chat servers running, you could have all your folks in the Order of the
British Empire come round for a bit of midnight levity. This is known as
pulling an all-knighter online. Hahahahaha. Sorry. Little bit of geek
I see from your official itinerary that you like to hang out at the
track and throw a lot of parties. Lovely. I would guess you often wear one
of your many crowns when you're out and about. I'll bet you even have one
with a flashing red light on top to make it easier for the peasants to spot
you. My idea is this: Why not go down to Crowns-R-Us and accessorize one of
them with a Web-camera so your subjects can see what the queen is doing at
any given moment? Is that a little over the top? OK. If QueenTV isn't your
Webcasting cup of tea, consider what we Americans do with some of our
endangered species: I'm talking electronic monitoring collars. If you wore
one, your subjects could dial up your page and know exactly where in the
Commonwealth you are at any given moment. You should really consider
outfitting your entire family with these.
Oh, about the family -- I know you've had your hands full with the boys
lately. I'm sorry to tell you that on certain areas of the Net, such as the
alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.celebrities newsgroup, photos of your sons'
various partners -- Lady Diana Spencer to Koo Stark to Fergie -- are very
popular. There's one of Di disembarking from a helicopter where her dress
is . . . And one of Fergie laid out on a beach blanket in all her porcine
glory . . . and, well, I guess you'll see for yourself soon enough.
Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do about this. These pictures will
be floating around the wired world like so much space junk until the Thames
runs blue. Anyway, if you want to make sure the boys don't become a royal
pain in cyberspace, I really think you should look into SurfWatch or
Netnanny - these are software filters that will keep the randy little
buggers from dialing up trouble. You won't have to be looking over their
shoulder constantly to see if they're reading alt.rum.sodomy.lash or other
After you've visited all the sites related to corgis, racehorses and
your other hobbies (do you, um, have any hobbies that involve actual
people?), there are plenty of other places to hit. For starters, the Alta
Vista search engine lists more than 10,000 things named after you.
Everything from libraries to laundromats, park benches to primary schools -
all with your name on them. That's . . . so kewl.
I understand you have a lot of time on your hands and a stoicism that
lets you soldier on when all around you is crumbling. That's lovely. You
should make a smashing Netsurfer. ''Britannia rules the Waves'' and all
that . . . Stay kewl, Queen!