User-friendly overhaul for Royal Family website
The official website of the Royal Family has been given its first overhaul in eight years in a bid to make it more user-friendly.
The vast amounts of text that appear on the current British Monarchy website are to be replaced by more colourful images, video footage and quotes, while the site itself has been given the new name The Home Of The Royal Family.
The monarchy's enthusiasm for social media will take pride of place with updates and links to their various online channels on almost every page.
The Royal Family have a number of social media accounts - with more than 2.5 million likes on the official Facebook page, 2.12 million followers on the British Monarchy Twitter account, more than 15,000 followers on Flickr, almost 150,000 subscribers to their YouTube channel, set up in 2007, and one million followers on the kensingtonroyal Instagram account.
A name change is also planned in the near future for the official British Monarchy channels, which are expected to be renamed Royal Family.
The Queen and members of her family are currently represented on Twitter by the account @BritishMonarchy, while @ClarenceHouse covers the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.
In January last year, a Twitter feed was launched highlighting the work of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
The account @kensingtonroyal focuses on the work of the royal trio, the charities they each support and their Royal Foundation.
In October 2014 the Queen, who is said to be pleased with the new-look site having viewed it earlier this week, passed a technological milestone by tweeting her first message on the micro-blogging site to declare a new Science Museum gallery open.
Visitors to the new website, which is estimated to attract more than 12 million people each year, should also be able to view and navigate the site more easily on their tablets and mobile phones, the digital team behind the relaunch said.
The site's fresh new look is also aimed at reaching out to people across the Commonwealth, where nearly 60% of the population is under 30 and mobile communication is popular.
A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: "The public expect to be able to engage with the role and work of The Queen and the Royal Family in ways they are familiar with.
"The new royal.uk site is more flexible in terms of accessibility, visually engaging in its appeal, easier to navigate and search, and is more interactive.
"It is also much easier to update regularly with content from numerous sources including charities and members of the public who benefit from their work."
The cost of overhauling the website has not been disclosed and will not appear in the annual accounts, but it is understood to have come in under budget and was designed by digital agency Reading Room after a competitive tender.
The new site's so-called soft launch on Thursday evening will see it run in tandem with the old site for a week before the current official website of the British Monarchy at www.royal.gov.uk is switched off.
Users can visit the new site at www.royal.uk.