Coronavirus: Queen Elizabeth II joins first official video call

Monarch joins millions relying on video calls during lockdown

Queen Elizabeth II took part in a video conference call for the first time on Thursday as the royal engagement became the latest part of British life to move online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ensconced safely in Windsor Castle, the 94-year-old monarch logged on to speak with carers and discuss how they have been coping during Britain’s virus outbreak.

"Interesting listening to all your tales and stories," she said in an excerpt of the call released by Buckingham Palace.

"I'm very glad to have been able to join you today."

Her daughter, Princess Anne, 69, also logged in for an engagement marking a nationwide week of events highlighting the work of people who care for relatives or friends with a disability, mental or physical illness.

Alexandra Atkins, 24, who looks after her mother, father and grandmother, said it was a "just unreal" to see the royals on the call.

"It hit me that I was sitting in my bedroom talking to the Princess Royal (Anne) and the queen," she said.

Despite being the world’s oldest and longest-serving head of state, the queen is no stranger to trying new technology.

She sent her first email long before most people, from a computer at a British Army base in 1976.

In 2014, she sent her first tweet during a visit to London's Science Museum, expressing her pleasure at opening a new gallery and signing it "Elizabeth R". The "R" stands for regina, Latin for queen.

More recently, because of lockdown measures she held a weekly audience with Prime Minister Boris Johnson from Windsor on what appeared to be an old-fashioned rotary telephone.

The queen's eldest son and heir, Prince Charles, revealed last week he has been "doing the FaceTime" to stay in touch with family and friends during the coronavirus lockdown.

With the pandemic forcing millions to refrain from seeing friends, family and work colleagues, video calls have become a daily occurrence for many.

The new demand for video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts has seen share prices soar.

Debates over privacy and security have accompanied the rising use of video conferencing, but with much of the world still in lockdown, the technology looks to remain a regular part of the daily lives of many for the foreseeable future.