So the manner in which Prince William's engagement to Kate Middleton was announced today was perhaps especially surprising -- on Twitter.
Even before William's father, Prince Charles, could announce the engagement on his official website, Clarence House jumped the gun with a 140-character post to Twitter.
The Prince of Wales is delighted to announce the engagement of Prince William to Miss Catherine Middleton - www.princeofwales.gov.uk
Minutes later, the 84-year-old queen of England "tweeted" her congratulations.
Is no one left offline?
Charles debuted his Twitter account only on Monday, and today's engagement announcement was only the seventh blurb on his profile -- raising suspicions that the account may have been launched for this very purpose. By contrast, his elderly mother, the queen, has been on Twitter for much longer, with more than 4,600 tweets on the British Monarchy profile. She also has a Facebook page, where she received congratulatory messages today on news of her grandson's engagement.
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Regardless of how "hip" the royals were in disseminating news of William and Kate's engagement, the British prime minister received word in a rather old-fashioned way -- scribbled on a scrap of paper. Prime Minister David Cameron said someone passed him a note informing him of the news during a cabinet meeting. He said he then shared the news with his ministers, and "a cheer went up," MSNBC reported.
"Inexplicably grumpy about Prince William," wrote one female ex-admirer. "Prince William is off the market," harrumphed another.
"Thanks Prince William for crushing every girl in the world's dream of ever becoming a princess!" wrote another heartbroken Web surfer.
Others among the Twitterati seemed disgusted with the publicity this royal engagement is getting. "CNN, did you really just have breaking news that Prince William got engaged, pathetic!" wrote one user. "Yawn," wrote another.