No bottles of champagne were broken over laptops, but the man many credit with founding the internet, Tim Berners Lee, was present at the launch, which is not bad considering it's mostly a glorified Facebook page. Why does Her Maj even need a website? She doesn't. As she explains on one of the crackling vintage radio addresses available on the royal YouTube channel, the point of being queen is to serve. It's we regular folk who need the website. In her munificence, she provides it. (See the 50 best websites of 2008.)
The new site has some pretty useful updates, including a calendar-map feature that shows what parts of England the queen and other members of the Royal family are scheduled to visit. There's an interactive menu: if you live in Merseyside and would like to see Prince William in the next couple of months, you can find out if he'll be in the neighborhood. (He won't.)
There are individual pages for all of Queen Liz's children and grandchildren and several of her more distant rellies, yes, including Diana. The 10th most frequently asked question on the site is about the names of the Queen's corgis (Emma, Linnet, Monty, Holly and Willow). Less asked about are the Dorgis, a cross-breed of Dachshunds and Corgis (Cider, Berry, Candy and Vulcan). There's a 700-word answer to the question about what the royal family's surname is (Mountbatten-Windsor, but they don't use it.)
As well as your regular down-home royals news, the site contains of lots of handy advice, such as what you might say to a member of the Worshipful Company of Vintners if you're invited to watch the annual Swan Upping. (A safe line of discourse at such swan-counting events would be to inquire how they are getting on with fellow swan enthusiasts, the Worshipful Company of Dyers.) And if you're looking for decorating tips for a larger than average residence, you can take an interactive tour of several ceremonial rooms to see what might be whipped up with a lot of gilt, royal portraits and semi-naked statues. Or you can find out how to contact the queen: Snail, er Royal, Mail only, it turns out. HRH emails her grandchildren, but her email address is not public. And she's not exactly a Twitterer.
Mostly the site gives you an idea of what the royals do day to day, which appears to be meeting a lot of people with whom they have nothing in common and trying to find something to talk about, sometimes with excruciating results. Perhaps that's its true purpose. If it can puncture even one little girl's dream of being a princess, it's done us all a service.