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No 'private life': Young royals adapt to modern pressures

A celebratory service at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday will commemorate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, when, at 27, she took the throne in the first televised ceremony the world had seen. Much has changed in the decades since then, and one of the most significant adjustments the royals have had to make is adapting to a new social media-obsessed culture.“I don’t believe
queen
While Queen Elizabeth avoided giving interviews, today's royals can't escape the spotlight.Chris McGrath / Today

A celebratory service at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday will commemorate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, when, at 27, she took the throne in the first televised ceremony the world had seen. Much has changed in the decades since then, and one of the most significant adjustments the royals have had to make is adapting to a new social media-obsessed culture.

“I don’t believe there is any such a thing as a private life anymore,” Prince Harry said in an NBC News interview. “Every single mobile phone has got a camera on it now. You can’t move an inch without someone judging you, and I suppose that’s just the way life goes.”

While Queen Elizabeth never gave a single interview, the young royals have trotted around the world on tours, posing for crowds and embracing the media attention that has become a fact of everyday life.

But that attention does not come without scrutiny. There have been scandals, from the infamous shots of Harry snapped on a cellphone to topless pictures of Duchess Kate.

Princess Diana faced similar pressures, of course. Her experiences may be why Prince William has sued the photographer who took photos of his vacationing wife, according to NBC expert Camilla Tominey.

While Queen Elizabeth avoided giving interviews, today's royals can't escape the spotlight.Chris McGrath / Today

“It harkens back to the days of Diana,” she said. “They feel that she was hounded; they feel that the paparazzi was partly responsible for her death in Paris. And let’s not forget they were little boys on family holidays and constantly being photographed.”

And the photographs will continue as the queen welcomes a great-grandchild into the world in the coming months.

“I get the impression that the Duchess of Cambridge, a keen amateur photographer, a new mom, is going to want to be proudly displaying this baby,” Tominey said. “But will William be pulling her back from that?”

That remains to be seen, but for now, perhaps the biggest sign of the changing times is how the queen has dealt with the new media climate: She’s on both Facebook and Twitter.

View images from the extraordinary life of Queen Elizabeth II.