back to article Royal Wedding: Prince Charles is a ZX81, Wills is an iPad

Back in 1981, two major events occurred in the UK. An awkward, troublesome, difficult-to-get-on-with contender captured the heart of an inexperienced young virgin: and in the same year, Prince Charles married Lady Di in the last major royal wedding to hit the UK. The frankly irritating yet inevitably famous (given the position …


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  1. Code Monkey


    Dodi Fayed was like the Spectrum. Much better, arrived a bit later but sadly prone to crashing at the worst possible time?

    1. foo_bar_baz


      < this

    2. Dr. Mouse


      Sir, I nominate you for Quote of the Day (if not year)!

      <- At least, that is, when you buy me a new keyboard...

    3. Number6

      A :-)

      You win, none of the other comments even came close.

    4. BorkedAgain

      *Prostrates self*

      ...I am not worthy...

    5. Stumpy
      Thumb Up


      I just laughed so hard I nearly wet myself...

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      my 3yr old daughter can do better...

  2. deadlockvictim

    No connection at all

    Are you suggesting that prince William lives in a walled garden and has no little use in the real world?

    You couldn't possibly be suggesting that he is a financial burden on those who use him and that he will cease to be attractive or amusing in a few years' time?

    Have you found out prince William's views on flash yet or would that be akin to asking an iPad the same question?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Of course he'll cease to be attractive or amusing......

      ..... He'll be married.

      1. O

        I like Charles ...

        ... but William reminds me of Tim-Nice-But-Dim; his bride a female version of.

        Oh, and Jobs can keep his filthy tablet to himself.

  3. Giles Jones Gold badge


    Swappable battery in an iPad? why?

    I think anyone who wants to use a touch screen computer for more than 7 or so hours in a day needs to get a life or just plug it into the mains since it's unlikely they are on the move.

    1. Chris Harden


      In a couple of years, when your ipad's battery is knackered and wont last more than 10 minutes, come back and ask the same question.

      1. Bilgepipe


        How do you know how long the iPads battery will last? Are you Doctor Who or something? Get back under your bridge.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          It's a Lithium based battery pack

          and those fade with heavy use and frequent recharging.

          Hence, the iPad's batteries will last for a while before dropping almost logarithmically.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            "dropping almost logarithmically"

            What on earth does this mean? The use of inappropriate mathematical terms in is increasing exponentially.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Those pesky scientists and engineers with their facts. Le gasp.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Jobs Horns

          Re: WTF?

          "How do you know how long the iPads battery will last?"

          As long as it needs to until the consumer can be tempted by another shiny Apple gadget with a non-replaceable battery. It's the same with all Apple consumer electronics products.

          Sent from my iHole.

  4. Joao Pereira

    Just geting my coat

    "Just as many ZX81 aficionados would ultimately wind up working in the miserable and soul-destroying IT industry". Nuf said.

  5. The Indomitable Gall


    I am cancelling my subscription.

    1. Just Thinking

      You can't

      You can't cancel your subscription, it comes straight out of your taxes.

      Oh hang on, you mean your subscription to El Reg...

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Aaarrrghh

      Would that be one of the platinum ones? Are they transferable?

    3. Jerome 0

      Marmaduke LaHussy

      "Get more from this author"


      "Sorry, nothing found. Try removing the author filter"

      Boo. :(

  6. Matthew Smith


    When the ZX81 came out, I bloody would hope that I was a virgin.

    1. Wommit

      Re : Virgin

      Married with Kids when it came out. I bought and played with the '81; and, yes, in the IT industry.

  7. Anonymous John


    Can El Reg be a royal wedding free zone? I was already sick of it yesterday. Not even emigrating seems to be an option.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      "Not even emigrating seems to be an option."

      Too right. Local TV news is just like watching a version of The Fast Show that's had "Chris Waddle" edited out and replaced with either "Prince William" or "Kate Middleton"........

      1. The Fuzzy Wotnot


        You do know the TV as one of the following:

        1) On/Off button

        2) Video input socket for DVD player/games console

        You can select one of these options and avoid the whole royal wedding debacle!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Best article, evah!

    Although, I agree with the above that it could easily be overdone. Sorry royal correspondent, it was a great and interesting read, but please don't come back until Harry gets hitched.

    1. MrCheese
      Thumb Up


      If want the kind of Royal entertainment described in the article is will be down to Harry to provide!

  9. Lord Lien

    The ...

    .... Royal Family. The Daily Fascist (If you come from England you will know the paper I'm on about) love these buggers, along with the USA. I honestly can't see the attraction. The number of times I have had to walk past Buck Palace to get to work, because the Victoria line is down. Thinking I bet them buggers don't have to get up at 5am just to spend 2 hours commuting to some crappy office.

    I can't understand the attraction of them, never have & never will...... I think I'm just bitter, twisted & to be honest a bit jealous.... I'm getting worse the closer to retirement age I get.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      .... iPad. The Daily Fascist (If you come from England you will know the paper I'm on about) love these buggers, along with the USA. I honestly can't see the attraction. The number of times I have had to walk past the Apple store to get to work, because the Victoria line is down. Thinking I bet them buggers don't have to get up at 5am just to spend 2 hours commuting to some crappy office.

      I can't understand the attraction of them, never have & never will...... I think I'm just bitter, twisted & to be honest a bit jealous.... I'm getting worse the closer to retirement age I get.

  10. Dances With Sheep

    Day off

    Fuck it.

    The only thing we all want to know is if we all get the wedding day off work as a public holiday.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Dances With Sheep

      Maybe, and if you're a contractor you get to lose a days pay as well.

      (personally I think the French had the right idea about what to do with Royals).

      1. Anonymous Coward

        confused ?

        How can the french be right about anything ? they are french

  11. Stephen Usher


    Does this mean that Prince Charles has problems with his RAM pack wobbling?

    1. Elmer Phud


      Nah, Charlie has problems with interfacing with the RealWorld(tm).

      I would ask, though, where does all this place Harry?

      1. Petrea Mitchell

        What is Harry?

        He's whatever you keep as a backup in case the iPad crashes.

        (Cue clever followups from non-fanbois making heavy use of the phrase "real computer".)

        1. Liam Thom

          To keep the metaphor rolling...

          ...There would have to be intense speculation that it came from a different manufacturer despite official denials that it really was made by Apple.

    2. A J Stiles

      Not quite

      I think he just wanted to be Camilla's RAM pack. Or something like that.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Long Live The Republic!

    I suspect that just as he had no truck with Charles II and his fawning minions Cromwell would have had little time for the current incumbents of Buck House or the iPad.

    They are the Devil's work I tell thee and must be driven from the land.

    1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      Hold on!

      Cromwell went mental and turned the country into a dictatorship!!!

      He appointed his son to run the country when he popped his clogs, when Sonny-Boy couldn't hack it, the royals sneaked back and started partying again!

    2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Charles the who?

      Charles II came to the throne after Cromwell's death, so Cromwell had no opportunity to have any truck with his fawning minions. (If you're a rabid Jacobite, which I rather doubt from the tone of your post, you may claim he became Charles II as soon as Charles I was executed. But as he and any fawning minions were in France or Holland, the question of truck did not arise.)

      You may be thinking of Charles I, but Cromwell was a fairly unimportant MP before the Civil War when his fawning minions were around. In any case, I don't think it was the fawning that was the problem. It was more the way in which some of the minions contrived to make it possible for Charles I to rule without Parliament.

  13. Shane8

    Who cares?

    who cares if someone that you dont know gets married?!

    Only thing im concerned about is:

    How much of our money is going to be used to fund their wedding? (more tax ?)

    Do we get a public holiday for it? (more free time)

    lastly, who really gives a f**k ?

  14. Test Man

    Actually I have issue with...

    "Prince Charles married Lady Di in the last major royal wedding to hit the UK."

    You forget Price Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. Yes it was a big deal back in the day and definitely major.

  15. Tony S
    Black Helicopters

    Last royal wedding?

    I note that the Beeb has also used this line several times. What about Randy Andy and Fergie. I thought that was a fairly major bash and it was 5 years (1986) after Chas & Di (1981). I will accept that most of the others since then have been a lot lower key.

    As someone on twitter said earlier - Kate Middleton = QILF

    (Just waiting for the helicopter with the angry groom - you DON'T say to him "You and who's army?)

    1. Dr. Mouse

      Wouldn't it be...


      She's not a queen yet, but I think she'll a Princess when she marries Bill.

      1. Code Monkey



      2. JohnG


        Is this how "pilfering" is defined?

  16. Sooty

    jumping to conclusions

    "An awkward, troublesome, difficult-to-get-on-with contender captured the heart of an inexperienced young virgin"

    I initially assumed Charles was the inexperienced young virgin

  17. squilookle

    I'm really impressed

    by the ability to get the IT angle in and enjoyed this article, but I'm sick of this wedding already.

    Oh well, atleast El Reg hasn't gone over the top like the BBC News website has. I'm going to stop visiting if they don't calm down soon. I half expect their next article to be something on the reaction of the family dogs: "As it happened, in pictures".

    1. Richard 41
      Thumb Up

      "....the reaction of the family dogs"

      That's been sorted by Matt -

  18. Ian Entwistle

    Best 70 quid I ever invested

    if it wasn't for my door stop ZX81 I probably wouldn't be earning half what I do now. I still have it ( and my VIC-20) and thank it everytime it passes my hands.....

    Mr Sinclair, I doff my cap to you!

    As for the wedding rubbish, meh....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ZX81 door stop?

      The ZX81 wouldn't be much use as a door stop. Uncle Clive's baby was tiny, even by the standard of today's Netbooks. You could probably use it as a door wedge though, given its shape.

      Now, the VIC 20 on the other hand would make a brilliant door stop.... Or bread bin.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prince Charles, children?

    Is it just me, or does Wills look more like a combination of mum + uncle + turkey baster?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      the interesting question

      Would be who does Harry look like? Mum + ...

      1. joe 4


        orangutan? or as we call 'em downunder, 'rangas

        mine's the one with the arse torn out by a croc....

  20. Colin Brett

    Exotic princess?

    "How much more fun for us all would it have been if Prince William had escaped his minders somehow, gone on an unauthorised adventure of some sort to the outrage of his grandma - and returned with a more mysterious princess from a more exotic background."

    There are some pics on the BBC news site in which Ms Middleton looks rather like Koo Stark, Prince Andrew's ex, except with clothes on.

    So perhaps William did get out of the walled garden?


  21. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

    My ZX81

    was a useful stop-gap until Acorn delivered my BEEB (ordered on the first day of them accepting orders).

    It didn't crash, as I took a Tandy keyboard, re-wired it (or actually re-painted the tracks on the membrane with silver paint) and connected it through a long ribbon cable, adding a power switch to the keyboard. Once I did this, it became quite stable, even with a Quicksilver pass through audio board (with sound modulator to the TV) between the '81 and the RAMpack. Never needed to touch the computer itself. No problems until my homebrew power supply blew it's bridge rectifier.

    It was also interesting re-mapping the 1K internal RAM to another memory location when the RAMpack was attached, and putting a second 1K of static RAM under the keyboard connected on the ULA side of the bus isolating resistors, allowing me to change the IR register, which was used as the base address of the character table! Yay, programmable character set and (if you worked hard) bit-mapped graphics.

    I actually tried writing a Battlezone variant, but it was just too slow in Slow mode.

    Funny, I've just been called a hacker for a completely different reason by my colleague in the next desk. I wonder why.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      All Hail the Alpha Geek

      For Lo! He Is Amongst Us.

  22. Anonymous Coward


    …I agree - that first comment by Code Monkey is the only one required!! :)

  23. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    I recently picked up a torrent of "The Computer Programme" ( 1982) with Chris Searle and Ian "MAC" MacNaught-Davis.

    So many predictions were made in the show over 28 years ago and so many came true! 10 programmes covering BASIC programming on a BBC Micro and various reports about how computers will change our lives forever.

    One quote from the show's main writer "All your information will be uploaded to an online network like Prestel(!) and this may not be a problem. Big Brother will exist and it's not so much a problem when he gets your information correct, but the problems will start when he gets it all wrong!"

    Searle: "Video games consoles a harmless distraction now, but in the future they may well become the centre of the home entertainment centre along with your record collection and your video collection on laser-disc." Right medium, wrong size!

    1. squilookle


      I vaguely remember the user manual of my Amstrad CPC 464 having a Q&A in it, including a question about why animations that could be shown on the computer were not to the same standard of a cartoon, even only moderately well animated.

      The manual predicted that costs would come down and we would get computers that could handle better animation in future. I think there were other predictions in there that are now reality as well, but I paraphrased all of that, I don't have the manual to hand.

      1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

        Re: Re:Indeed!

        He's right, you know:

        Check out Chapter 8

        1. squilookle
          Thumb Up


          Thanks for posting the link, Tony. That's great!

          I'd forgotten about the illustrations. :D

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So glad my Dad shelled out the extra £20 and got us an Oric-1 instead; indisputably the British Apple (tangerine) of it's era. I do not now work in IT as a consequence :-) There's still hope for the Royals yet. Perhaps Harry will be more like his father.

  25. spiny norman
    Thumb Up


    Ian MacNaught-Davis - one of the small band of IT company CEOs who could stand up in an auditorium for 45 minutes without notes or teleprompter and hold an audience. There's not many of those left.

  26. Alan Esworthy

    Admirable dedication

    "Meanwhile we seem to have flogged this particular metaphor horse well past the point at which it stopped really going anywhere, so we'll desist."

    It may have once been a horse, but by the end of the article you are still flogging the faint stain on the ground where said dead horse lay and was eaten by voracious badgers zipping in for quick nibbles between blows. Keep up the good work!

  27. Grease Monkey Silver badge


    I don't recall the ZX81 being involved in any arranged marriages.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      but it's younger sibling, the Spectrum, started cross-dressing and found itself looking more and more like an Amstrad ...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle


    I am just looking forward to the taxpayers bill from the wedding - you know, they have no money of their own those royals...

    <sarcasm off>

    God I am getting all Victor Meldrew and its only Wednesday....

  29. Havin_it

    'Ang on

    It is still fairly credible that Chas will get to be King for at least a few years between Brenda's departure and his own, so where does this metaphor stand then?

    Dateline 2020: Due to long-running global component shortages and the collapse of all major UK cellcos (caused by the uncontrolled proliferation of data-hungry iPad apps probably), and the last decade's worsening solar activity knackering hi-end graphics cards worldwide (or something), the ZX81 becomes the "portable" computing device of choice once more. iPads' once-shiny tops now looking rather matte and liver-spotted, much like uncle Edward's..

    Not sure where I was going with this really, but I like the idea of Sir Clive being in a position where Steve Jobs is obliged to kiss his ring.

    And what is Harry? Might be that "Psion" mini-smartbook RegHardware previewed a year or so back: nice idea, probably more useful than the other two, but heritage clearly not what it's claimed to be?

  30. Arctic fox

    I suppose this marriage may stand a chance as long as.........


    ..........somebody has explained to Master William that he should ensure that his antenna is only external in private and the bit about not holding Kate the wrong way.


  31. Richard Porter


    Naah! I waited for a <em>real computer</em> to come along, with a proper keyboard and a disc drive and a user port. But then I'd cut my teeth on ICL 1900s, IBM 360s and DEC PDP11s so I wasn't exactly a computing virgin.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most chucklesome

    (mandatory letters here)

  33. Anonymous Coward

    ZX81 - pffft!

    Tsk... I don't know, you newbies and your contemporary references. I'm oldskool baby - ZX80 generation! :p

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I had a zx..

    and it was a gift in 6th grade [for err... not acing the 5th, but that's a diff story.]

    In 1980s India, it didn't get bigger than this for us proles.

    It was form factor of a keyboard, you could save games on an audio cassette recorder. Your TV was your monitor.. (yes, that means that any fine resolution graphics sucked]. Though there was hardly any OS.. you directly deal in assembly(using pokes) or typed your programs in sinclair basic.

    It was fun - and I wasn't your nerdy pimpled spectacled kid at that time (I was a national level judoka .. though today I am a professional nerd, who looks like one as well). If nothing zx80 launched a career for me as a kernel programmer. Perhaps the iPADs and the slates will launch some careers of some future movie critics & bloggers too.. but I fail to get envious.

    cheers to zx!


    Paris, coz she has some Jade(d) Exes..

  35. Anonymous Coward

    This line..

    " Just as many ZX81 aficionados would ultimately wind up working in the miserable and soul-destroying IT industry"

    Truely prophetic...

    I'm so much better since leaving the industry...

    Although, some of my best memories involved the inventions Sir Clive "sugar daddy" Sinclair.

    Print USR1+USR1 anyone????

  36. joe 4

    nom de lol

    lol@ worst nom de plume ever! keep it up!

  37. The Nameless Mist

    Duke of Edinburgh

    Does this make the Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip) a Sperry Univac ?

  38. Christopher Blackmore


    Differs from Jug Ears, as it won't talk to trees.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The iPad is not the ZX81's natural heir

    The difference between the ZX81 and the iPad is that the latter is designed as a "premium" product whereas the ZX81's design focus was clever cost saving, making it incredibly affordable (by the standards of its time)- far cheaper than almost any of the competition, which made its design limitations forgivable (though not, admittedly, the notorious RAMpack wobble).

    If you simply go by inflation alone, rather than typical household income, the ZX81 is still slightly cheaper than the iPad, around £290.

    As for the obvious comparison, well the iPad resurrects the flat keyboard that everyone hated on the ZX81. Does this mean we'll be seeing third-party replacement keyboards/cases for the iPad that look like this? (^_^)

  40. Mark .
    Thumb Down

    Wait, which is meant to be the "better" product?

    If an IPad only looks good when compared to a 21 year old product, that says it all.

    But I'm confused as to what is meant to be the "superior" item here. Sure, compared today, an 2010 IPad manages to do better than a 1981 ZX81 - amazing.

    But comparing them against what was available at the time, let's see. The ZX81 gave home computing for many, and led onto a great generation of home computers for millions. The IPad gives mobile computing, but that's _years_ old now (mobile Internet was all the rage in ooh, 2003, and we've had netbooks since 2007). You can also get far smaller mobile devices (e.g., phones), the IPad is like a 1980s brick in comparison.

    The ZX81 was hated for its rubber keyboard, but the IPad doesn't even have one at all, instead having to use a screen with no feel of keys at all.

    The ZX81 can be programmed. The IPad can only be programmed using a special Apple PC, and programs have to be approved by Apple, and you have to pay for that.

    The IPad runs one program at once, the ZX81 - okay, fair enough, they're on the same level there.

    The IPad is only really useful with Internet access, and widespread Internet access, mobile Internet and the web didn't exist in 1981, so that's unfair to compare.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    and I thaught

    Princess Di jokes were dead as a Dodi by now...

  42. Gareth Pye
    Thumb Down

    and the rest

    The list of countries that William will be King for was rather short I believe. If your going to go beyond England you might as well list them all.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    wrong comparison

    Comparing William to an iPad? OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!

  44. Robert Baker
    Paris Hilton

    Surely the Charles == ZX81 analogy is false?

    You can't run a nuclear power station with a Prince Charles.

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