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Thursday, 13 December, 2001, 08:16 GMT
Queen considers festive text message
Queen, BBC
Christmas greetings from HMQE2
Mobile phones could be buzzing with royal greetings if the Queen decides to send her Christmas message by text.

Her annual address to the nation is already broadcast on television, radio and on the internet.

But Buckingham Palace says proposals to send a version by text message to mobile phone users in the UK are being considered.

A spokesman said it was unlikely the speech could be translated into text for this year, but they would consider it for Christmas 2002.

In September, newspapers revealed the Duke of York had bought the Queen her own mobile phone to keep in contact with her children, estates and racing contacts.

The idea of texting the Christmas message was put to the palace by internet firm Genie.

Managing director Laurence Alexander, said: "As a mobile phone user herself, the Queen has demonstrated that she is a part of this phenomenally successful way of communicating.

My hsbnd + I {]:-)

"Our aim is to convert the Christmas message into a shortened text message format that will be sent to mobile telephones.

"I believe this is a great way to modernise a great British tradition."

Customers would be able to receive the message by visiting a website or by replying to a text-based invitation sent to their mobile phone in advance.

Text messaging or SMS (short messaging service) has become a great success since its launch in 1994.

Every month more than one billion text messages are now sent in the UK.

A survey of 1,000 people by mobile phone company Orange found 72% would be replacing traditional Christmas cards with a greeting via their mobile phone.

The BBC's David Sillito
"For harassed Christmas shoppers, a regal text message appears rather popular"
See also:

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24 May 01 | Health
Text message warning
10 May 00 | Health
Child mobile phone warning
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