Queen's Facebook page attracts nearly 200,000 visits

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The Independent Online

Within days of its launch, the Queen's Facebook page has attracted nearly 200,000 visitors.

Royalists and republicans alike have logged on to the social networking site - launched on Monday - to view images, videos and news about the British Monarchy.

The page provides more than 193,000 users with information about royal events, visits and ceremonies, all searchable on a UK map.

It also features the Court Circular - the authoritative record of the previous day's official royal engagements.

A spokeswoman for Facebook said the company was "delighted" to welcome the Queen to the site this week.

She added: "People can now have a direct connection with the Royal Family through their page to see a unique glimpse into palace life."

A spokesman for Buckingham Palace said: "It's part of our ongoing strategy to adopt social networking as a way of engaging people with what the Royal Family is doing.

"The important thing about Facebook is its international reach, as the Queen is Queen of 16 countries and head of the Commonwealth."

Facebook has become a global internet phenomenon since it was started by Harvard undergraduate Mark Zuckerberg in 2004.

It began life as an internet idea open to his fellow students but its appeal quickly spread to other universities and later worldwide.

The Queen is perhaps Britain's most famous internet user. She has embraced technology and is said to email her grandchildren.

But the Duke of Edinburgh is thought to be the real fan of computers and the internet, using them regularly.

The launch of the Facebook page shows how the monarchy is keen to take advantage of new developments online.

The move follows the introduction of the monarchy's Flickr account earlier this year.

It also joined Twitter in 2009, where it has more than 70,000 followers, and established a Royal Channel on YouTube in 2007, now featuring more than 200 videos.

Prince William has already been officially featured on social networking sites.

Updates about his tour of New Zealand in January were posted on Facebook and Bebo by the New Zealand government.

The Royal Family is not expected to find thousands of new "friends" on the site as a fan page has been created rather than a personal profile.

Fans wishing to follow the monarchy can instead indicate they "like" the entry and will receive updates about new pictures and videos through their news feed.

The page is a collaboration between Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and the Royal Collection.

The British Monarchy joins a host of other leaders across the world with Facebook pages, including French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Yesterday, the White House posted a welcome to the Queen on its Facebook fansite, saying: "Help welcome the British Monarchy to Facebook. Take a look at their great photos, videos, and the latest British Monarchy news."