At just three days old and four posts in, the Duchess and Duke of Sussex’s Instagram account boasts nearly 4 million followers (including Gwyneth Paltrow, Ariana Grande, Sarah Jessica Parker, Julia Roberts, and Kris Jenner), making it, by every metric, a social media smash hit.
But not everyone is jumping on Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s well-curated IG bandwagon.
In fact, one West Sussex man finds the royals’ move to Instagram “very unpleasant,” and with good reason.
Kevin Keiley recently got a “jokey text” from his son that revealed his deepest social media fears had come true: the Duke and Duchess of Sussex had stolen his Instagram handle.
“I thought ‘What’s that all about?’ So I looked on Instagram and suddenly my handle wasn’t @sussexroyal anymore it was @_sussexroyal_,” he told Radio 1 Newsbeat.
And no, Keiley doesn’t operate a Meghan and Harry fan account — the handle was derived from his location (West Sussex) and his love of English soccer team Reading FC (nicknamed “The Royals”).
Instagram confirmed they made the switcheroo without consulting Keiley due to his inactivity on the platform, according to the BBC report. And while he admits he didn’t post often, Keiley did use Instagram to follow other people’s activity. Will he continue to do so as _sussexroyal_? If he’s able to discuss his qualms with the platform, perhaps. “I’m a bit loath to use Instagram until I have a chat with them personally,” he said.
The account @_sussexroyal_ has 0 posts, 222 followers, and is currently following 14 people.
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Keiley’s next move, naturally, was to tweet up a storm to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen when Meghan and Harry make their inevitable move to Twitter. Before he resumed posting on April 3, he hadn’t tweeted since 2013.
“I didn’t ask for this. I’ve had the account for years — it’s not very pleasant,” he explained, noting that he’s been receiving “rude” messages online.
Considering all the turmoil they’ve caused Keiley, if given the chance to consult the royal Instagram thieves in question, he knows exactly what he’d say:
“Hello Harry and Meghan. If you do want my Twitter account as well can you at least have the decency to speak to me?”
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