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Monarchy in the Metaverse

In light of last week’s sad news regarding the death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II,’s planned post titled “At home with the Metaverse”, is now scheduled for this Friday, the 16th of September.

With the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles accedes to the throne and becomes King Charles III. The new King, whilst not known for his interest in technology, never mind the Metaverse, is known to care deeply about the environment, architecture, inner-city renewal, and quality of life. All of which will be impacted by the Metaverse.

Depending on the design of its operating infrastructure, level of adoption and how it is utilised, the Metaverse may have a positive, or negative, impact on the natural world. It’s far too early to tell. In our post “A green and pleasant Metaverse”, we considered both the increase in computational efficiency required to realise a truly persistent and immersive Metaverse, which might result in a serious increase in energy demand, as well as the natural and significant reduction in travel that could be realised by a hyper-realistic virtual world close to, if not indistinguishable to the real world.

Future architecture, how and cities look and operate in the future, will also be impacted by the Metaverse. In our post “Will the Metaverse require a complete overhaul of the internet?”, we looked at the connectivity infrastructure required to support a persistent, hyper-realistic, immersive, Ready Player One-esque virtual world that allows planetwide interactions, in real-time, and asked whether or not the Metaverse will require a complete overhaul of the internet. Both the physical infrastructure needed to support the Metaverse and the spatial considerations required to accommodate users will have a significant impact on the built environment. An impact that King Charles III is likely to have an opinion on.

In his first speech to the nation as sovereign, the King mentioned the role of Prince William and Princess Catherine, the new Prince and Princess of Wales. He said that they will “continue to inspire and lead our national conversations, helping to bring the marginal to the centre ground where vital help can be given.” In this the Prince and Princess of Wales should also be considering he impact of the Metaverse. The Metaverse will fundamentally impact both society and the global economy and, in the same way that people who are not able to engage effectively with the digital world are already being left behind, people who are not able to engage with the Metaverse, with be severely disadvantaged.

So how might the Monarchy engage with the Metaverse? The new Prince and Princess of Wales are considered to be modernizers, having broken away from Royal traditions in the past. But will this modernization include the adoption of new technology like the Metaverse? Probably. In 2021, the Queen carried out 118 of her 192 engagements virtually, due to the pandemic. Charles had the most royal duties to perform in 2021,a total of 335, of which he attended 108 virtually, and William, attended 115 of his 223 engagements virtually. Royal engagements include hosting heads of state, taking diplomatic trips, palace parties, opening new sessions of Parliament, and presenting citizens with awards. Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built and the Metaverse will allow the royal family greater scope to engage with both officials, businesses and the public.

It’s worth noting that Prince George, nine, second in line to the throne, Princess Charlotte, seven, third in line to the throne, and Prince Louis, four, and fourth in in line to the throne, have never known a world without the internet and have always lived in a world where the concept of the Metaverse has existed.

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Markus Spiske/Unsplash

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