Leading article: Royal web

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The Independent Online

The monarchy may seem to the untrained eye like a conservative institution incapable of moving with the times and hopelessly ill at ease with modern technology. But appearances can be misleading. Fifty years ago, Buckingham Palace seized on the new communication medium known as "television" by screening the Queen's Christmas message. And now the palace is opening a front in cyberspace. The Royal Family has decided to set up an official YouTube page. As well as broadcasting tomorrow's Christmas message, it will contain recent and historical footage of members of the Royal Family

This is part of an effort by the monarchy to reach a Net-savvy generation; those more likely to be tapping at their computers at 3pm on Christmas Day, than sitting in front of the television munching Quality Street.

This is clearly a wonderful idea. But we would humbly point out that Her Majesty has some fierce competition. Consider some of the most watched YouTube postings of the past month: "Stupid people=funny accidents"; "Man turns dark blue"; "Woman flashes at Memphis Grizzlies game"; "Crank that Kosha Boy"; "How to make your bunnies belch"; "Stalking Santa"; "World famous bongo man with his grotesque big mouth".

Can palace postings such as "The Prince of Wales visits Robert Clack school" compete with all-time favourite YouTube submissions such as "Spiders on drugs"? Would you rather watch "Buckingham Palace Garden Parties" or "Carmen Elektra parties out"?

Good luck in cyberspace Your Majesty. You're probably going to need it.

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