April 3, 2019, was a busy day for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. The launch of their official Instagram account made history for being the fastest to reach 1 million followers, Guinness World Records reported. As of April 4, Sussex Royal’s follower count has risen to 3.4 million.
Not everyone is happy, though. On Thursday, BBC published an interesting, if somewhat amusing headline, as the media outlet reported that a British driving instructor had his Instagram handle “taken away” and “given” to the royal couple. Kevin Keiley had chosen @sussexroyal to reflect his home county of Sussex while also honoring his favorite soccer team, Reading FC. The team’s nickname is “the Royals.”
Keiley no longer has the privilege of calling @sussexroyal his own, following what appears to be a very royal takeover. Keiley states that the platform “changed his handle” without asking permission.
“I got a jokey text from my son which said ‘Ha ha, I see your handle has gone then'”
Per his interview with Radio 1 Newsbeat, the 55-year-old explained the story.
“I thought ‘What’s that all about?’ He said ‘Look on Instagram’ so I looked on Instagram and suddenly my handle wasn’t @sussexroyal anymore it was @_sussexroyal_… It had been taken.”
As of Thursday, April 4, Keiley’s emotions are said to be a mixture of flattery and annoyance. The latter likely stems from Keiley’s reported lack of contact from the royal family. As he alleges, his handle was swiped without his permission.
Keiley readily confesses to having few followers. As the above-mentioned BBC report states, Keiley “didn’t post often,” but used the account to “like” and “follow” others. The past 24 hours do seem to have soured this Brit’s view of the famous royal couple – Keiley is now “a bit loath” to engage in Instagram activity until he “has a chat with them personally.” He is likely referring to Meghan and Harry themselves.
Keiley’s local newspaper, Reading Chronicle further quotes him.
“Apparently Instragram said as far as they are concerned, my Instagram account was dormant.”
According to the aforementioned BBC report, Instagram made a statement confirming that Keiley’s handle “had been changed in line with its policy.” The policy permits Instagram to “make changes” to accounts that have been inactive for a certain duration of time.
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Today The Duke of Sussex met with families, children and young adults at @Ymcaenglandandwales in South Ealing as a continuation of his dedicated work in the mental health space. “There continues to be huge progress in smashing the stigma that surrounds mental health, but let’s keep normalising the conversation. Let’s keep reminding each other that it’s okay to not be okay, and to listen to each other. After all, how we think determines how we act, how we feel, and how we treat ourselves and those around us.” -The Duke of Sussex. It takes courage, strength and honesty, but talking through your mental health issues often becomes the key to dealing with them. Just like physical exercise, which we all know is good for us; we have to care for our minds as much as we do for our bodies. 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives. It is a part of all of us. Have an unashamed conversation on how you feel, be empowered to share your story and you will see you are not alone. For more information visit @heads_together. - ????Royal Communications / PA
Since launching on April 3, Meghan and Harry’s Instagram account only has one post. It shows Prince Harry engaging in outreach work with YMCA England and Wales. Meghan and Harry are due to welcome their first child later this month. One Sussex-based Brit might not be raising a glass, though.