The Queen gives Net surfers a royal wave

World Wide Web: Less-developed countries are seeing Internet's potential more readily than the British
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The Queen has long been a keen anorak-wearer but few would have guessed as she strolled through the Balmoral heather that her love of unfashionable coats signified anything deeper than a dislike of the cold.

Yesterday, however, a possible new meaning was revealed - the Queen is a member of the computer nerd fraternity and has become a keen surfer across the Internet.

According to the Sunday Times, Her Majesty has been receiving tuition in using her own computer from the Duke of Edinburgh, who has been a keen computer buff for some time. For the past two years, the newspaper said, the Queen has had access to an internal e-mail system at Buckingham Palace, but recently, after being hooked up to the Internet, she is using the system to "go surfing with chums in high places."

The image of the Queen spending hours chatting to subjects across the Commonwealth, browsing the sports pages and linking up with "highly placed confidantes around the country" was an irresistible one. However, according to the Palace, the Queen isn't a surfer and she really does wear her anorak to keep warm.

"The Queen is aware of what the Internet is," said a spokeswoman, "but I really don't think she goes surfing on it."

The nearest she has come to browsing the web is sending messages on it during royal visits. In Canada last month, she sent an e-mail during one event to a royal-visit website set up by the Canadian government. Unfortunately, her involvement in sending the message may reveal the true extent of her computer literacy.

"She sort of pressed a button and off it went," said the spokeswoman.

Monarchist view

Web sites for the dedicated Royals fan:

http:// (the official site) (for the latests news and gossip about Princess Diana add /clubdi on the end)