The royal family joins Flickr

It seems like everybody is getting on Flickr these days. Now even the Royal Family of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth Realms is sharing their photographs. The collection of photos, both old and new, will go live on Monday. There’s also a spot where the common rabble can share their photos of the royals.

The collection will feature not only pictures of the Royal Family, but also pictures taken by the Royal Family, which promises to give insights into the bluebloods that you don’t get from the Buckingham Palace tour. Prince Charles is an avid watercolor painter and honorary member of the Royal Watercolour Society, so perhaps he’s dabbled in photography too.

The older photos should be of interest. We tend to think of Queen Elizabeth as a rather proper elderly lady who wears funny hats, but historical images reveal the many phases of her life. This one, courtesy the UK Government, shows her in 1945 when she was still a princess. She’s learning how to change a tire as part of her Auxiliary Territorial Service training during World War Two.

After you’re done admiring the royals, take a look at some of the many talented photographers who contribute to Gadling’s Flickr page.

Her Majesty the Queen no longer exempt from the hassles of airport security

Queen Elizabeth II will soon become one of the last people on the planet to be subjected to the hassles of airport security. For some insane reason, her own government has decided that every single air traveler will have to be screened to be sure they are not on a list of known terrorists – and no exception is made for anyone.

The UK system is called e-borders, and is similar to current technology in place in the United States. Every single border passage will be logged, and travelers will need to provide their name, age, gender, date of birth and address.

How the Queen will be able to prove she is who she is will be challenging as she does not carry a passport, and is not required to. In the UK, all passports are issued “in the name of Her Majesty”. All I know is that I’d hate to be the one working the border crossing the day she passes through.

The new measures apply to anybody entering the UK – which includes all levels of VIP, including our own President. The measures even bring an end to the common practice of allowing VIP’s to travel using a pseudonym. Security experts are concerned that forcing high level VIP’s to use their own name will be a bigger security threat than the possibility of the Queen turning out to be a terrorist in disguise.

Details about the Cunard ship the Queen Elizabeth

The maiden voyage of the Queen Elizabeth, Cunard’s latest cruise ship endeavor, won’t be until October 12, 2010 when it sets sail from England for the Canary Islands. Details about what the ship will feature have begun to be revealed.

It sounds fancy–more than fancy. Polished wood, marble, artwork that depicts the royal palaces, and special dining rooms for people who have paid more money add to the luxury of ocean travel. The ship’s design incorporates aspects of the QE2 and the original Queen Elizabeth.

In this USA Today article about the ship, one line made me laugh a bit. The senior executive for Cunard said that the ship would make passengers feel “‘right at home.'”

Yes, I know he means that people will feel comfortable despite the ship’s wow factor, but whenever I’m around marble and polished wood, I’m reminded about how it doesn’t seem like my home at all. For me, that’s one reason to take a cruise. The photo is of the Garden Lounge that was designed to evoke an image of Kew Gardens’ conservatory.

You can start booking tickets on the Queen Elizabeth on April 2nd. Here’s the booking link.

Ocean liner QE2 on its last voyage, this time to Dubai

For anyone who would like the experience of a luxury ocean liner vacation without actually leaving land, here are two options.

The Queen Elizabeth 2 has hit forty and is being retired. Instead of ending up in some boat graveyard somewhere like Jeremy has written about in a previous post, the QE2 is on its way from New York City [via Great Britain] to Dubai where it will become a hotel.

The Queen Mary, another retired Cunard ocean liner is already a hotel in Long Beach, California.

If you do stay on the QE2, you’ll be on a ship that has seen some history and mighty fine company. According to this article, Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor, Bob Hope and Britain’s royal family including Princess Diana have sailed on this vessel.

It was also used to transport wounded soldiers during the Falkland’s War in 1982.

For its last voyage, some of the passengers are folks from the first voyage. Just imagine what a great time they must be having right about now.

In 2010 Cunard is rolling out another luxury liner. The Queen Elizabeth will be even grander than its sea worthy sisters.

Symbolic figurehead helps inaugurate Heathrow’s new terminal

Yesterday Queen Elizabeth II helped celebrate the opening of Heathrow’s newest terminal, an $8.7 billion structure that is now the largest free-standing building in Britain. “My warmest congratulations go to everyone who has worked on this highly impressive building; it embodies many achievements of which you can be rightly proud,” she said.

The terminal will be used exclusively by British Airways, whose shareholders footed the bill for this massive project. Proponents of the airport expansion say that the new terminal, which will first be used by passengers on March 27, will allow passengers to move more quickly through check-in and security. Environmentalists and other critics of the project say the new terminal will lead to more flights and more pollution. Which, of course, it will.

In other news, British Airways says they’re modifying their security procedure to coincide with the introduction of the new terminal. Passengers who don’t arrive at the airport at least 35 minutes before their flight is scheduled to take off will be stopped at security checkpoints and forced to re-book, instead of being allowed to run for the gate Home-Alone-style.

More here.