Queen puts her family albums on Flickr

Hundreds of rarely seen pictures of the Royal family have been posted on to the photo website Flickr after Buckingham Palace opened an account with the popular site.

Images showing recent royal events and archive pictures of the Queen, the Prince of Wales, Princes William and Harry and many other members of the monarch's extended family can be viewed from today.

More than 600 photographs have been added to the British Monarchy's Photostream account and the images will be continuously updated as new engagements and events take place.

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The development is the latest move by the monarchy to stay up to date with technological innovations.

It follows the launch of the updated royal website and British Monarchy Twitter account last year and the Royal Channel on YouTube in 2007.

The Flickr initiative is timed to coincide with the summer opening of Buckingham Palace as the site features photographs commissioned for the exhibition The Queen's Year, which opens next Tuesday at the monarch's London home.

Highlights from the photo website include early pictures of Queen Victoria and other leading figures form the era, images of the present Queen as a baby and pictures of the latest royal events.

The account has been divided into two categories, the first - Royal Collection - contains images commissioned for The Queen's Year exhibition and the Victorian pictures. There are also behind-the-scenes shots showing Royal Household staff at work at a state banquet and images by photographer Marcus Adams showing royal children - from the Queen as a baby to Charles as a little boy.

The Royal Family section groups pictures of the monarchy by individuals. Harry, 25, is shown as a newborn baby, in the arms of his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, as an Eton schoolboy, patrolling in Afghanistan during his 2007-08 deployment to the country and on a visit to a Sussex charity which trains dogs to help disabled people.

His older brother William is pictured as a youngster with his parents and sibling, on exercise with the Royal Navy in the Caribbean and meeting David Beckham in South Africa.

The section also features the Queen's recent visit to Canada and New York where she addressed the United Nations, and features categories headed Queen and the Commonwealth, Royal Events and Ceremonies and the latest news.

The Royal Family are currently on a family holiday in Scotland, cruising through the Hebrides.