(CNN) - Friday's nuptials between Prince William and Kate Middleton won't be the first royal wedding to captivate Anglophiles from around the world. But it will be the first with its own Twitter hashtag.
(That's #rw2011, if you're tweeting along at home).
The wedding's full-bore digital presence - from live-streaming video to mobile apps - casts a light on a royal family that, for the past century, has needed to, sometimes reluctantly, stay on the cutting edge of communications technology.
These days, that means a YouTube channel (created in 2007), a Flickr account for official photos, a Twitter stream for princes William and Harry and a Facebook page with 350,000 fans.
There were even plans to broadcast Friday's wedding in 3D, although they were eventually scrapped due to a perceived lack of interest and access.
"The Royal Family has embraced social media in its own time, which is typical of how a basically conservative institution has learned to adapt," said Charlie Beckett, director of a journalism and society think tank at the London School of Economics.
That adapting has taken multiple forms over the years for a family that's increasingly had to justify its relevance, and the money British taxpayers fork over to help maintain their lavish lifestyle.
"The success of the royal family over the last 100 years is that they have always adapted very quickly to an ever-changing society," said Mark Saunders, a royal biographer and contributor to CNN's royal wedding coverage.FULL STORY
London (CNN) - Just after announcing his engagement, Prince William told the world he had given Kate Middleton the distinctive sapphire and diamond ring belonging to his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales, as "my way of making sure my mother didn't miss out on today and the excitement."
The prince was particularly close to his mother, who died in a Paris car crash in 1997, and both he and his brother Harry know how much his wedding would have meant to her. William is even reported to have taken his fiancee to visit Diana's tomb at her ancestral home, Althorp House, in central England, in the run-up to the big day.
Royal experts say the second-in-line to the British throne has been closely involved in the planning of the wedding, which has other echoes of Diana.FULL STORY
Editor's note: As his wedding day approaches, Randi Kaye takes a look at Princess Diana's influence on her son Prince William.
Related: A tale of royal love
Related: Kate and Diana, a royal comparison
Editor's note: CNN's Isha Sesay speaks with Vogue's Hamish Bowles about what Kate Middleton's wedding dress might look like.
Related video: Cooper gets schooled in royal etiquette
Editor's note: Bonnie Fuller is the president and editor-in-chief of HollywoodLife.com and HollyBaby.com. She was formerly the chief editorial director of American Media Inc. and the editor-in-chief of Us Weekly, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and YM magazines.
(CNN) - I'll never forget watching Lady Diana Spencer tie the knot with Charles, the Prince of Wales, on July 29, 1981. Like most women in the Western world, I'd been obsessed with "The Royal Engagement" since the shocking announcement that Charles was finally giving up his single status at the fairly old age of 32, to marry the adorable 20-year-old Diana.
I was as naïve as the poor unsuspecting Diana and had no idea that this wasn't a real fairy tale romance. I breathlessly read the stories about how the pair had met through her older sister, Sarah Spencer, whom Charles had once dated! And I closely followed the endless speculation about who would design Diana's dress.
If you think that the media and the public have gone hog wild over Prince Williams' wedding to Kate Middleton, you'd be surprised by how we were whipped into even more of a royal frenzy by the Diana and Charles nuptials.FULL STORY
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