You might imagine it was a hefty blow when Prince Harry and his glamorous wife Meghan chose to stop sharing an Instagram account with Prince William and Kate earlier this year — but who’s having the last laugh?
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have just reached a landmark 10 million followers on their account @kensingtonroyal.
And the royal couples’ rival accounts, though completely different in style, could hardly be closer in numbers, with @sussexroyal — run by Harry and Meghan — on 9.4 million followers, despite only launching in April this year.
Intriguingly, it is possible the reported rivalry between the brothers is actually helping Prince William.
For analysis reveals that the Cambridges’ account hit a plateau of 7 million followers in January 2019 and languished there, only starting its climb up to its current level of 10 million when the Sussexes struck out on their own.
The royal couples’ rival accounts, though completely different in style, could hardly be closer in numbers
Other royal Instagrammers, meanwhile, trail far behind.
The Queen has 6.7 million followers and Prince Charles a mere 879,000.
Prince Andrew has just 215,000 followers — all of whom he appeared to ‘mute’ for ten days after the suicide of his friend Jeffrey Epstein, presumably so that no one could leave a comment.
And while the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, arguably the most privacy-conscious members of The Firm, follow almost nobody online — including, quite extraordinarily, none of the Royal Family — Sarah, the Duchess of York, takes an altogether more inclusive approach.
She follows absolutely everyone, from David Beckham and actress Susan Sarandon, to Sharon Osbourne and even Ayda Field, the wife of Robbie Williams — plus, of course, her ex and their daughters.
Alas for social-media savvy Fergie, few of the Royals outside of her nearest and dearest seem to follow her in return. So, in the right royal battle for social media supremacy, what does make a winning combination?
Instagram style: Portraits of the couple with shots of their children, many taken by Kate
KATE’S PHOTOS ARE UNIFORMLY GOOD
Number of posts: 1,882
Followers: 10 million
Following: William and Kate follow 92 accounts, including other royals, the V&A Museum, No 10 Downing Street and charities such as Prince Harry’s Sentebale and Meghan’s Smart Works.
Their most-liked pictures involve the children — and their most popular, with 2.1 million likes, is an image of Prince George and Princess Charlotte in uniform on her first day of school this month
Instagram style: Portraits of the couple with shots of their children, many taken by Kate.
Greatest hits: Their most-liked pictures involve the children — and their most popular, with 2.1 million likes, is an image of Prince George and Princess Charlotte in uniform on her first day of school this month.
Two million liked a picture of George’s christening, with 8.3 million views of footage from the day.
The Cambridges’ Christmas card got 1.8 million likes, but the card from the Sussexes, a photograph of Harry and Meghan watching fireworks after their wedding, got only 839,000.
The Cambridges shared son Archie’s official christening picture in July and it received 1.2 million likes.
Another wishing Prince Harry a Happy Birthday pulled in 593,000.
Less popular: Their worst-rated picture was drawings of Paddington Bear back in 2015, which garnered 2,000 likes.
And another thing: In February, they lost 150,000 followers overnight after Instagram limited fake accounts.
MEG’S ROYAL SUSSEX STORY
Number of posts: 85
Followers: 9.4 million
Following: Meghan and Harry follow 22 accounts including the Halo trust, Virunga National Park and the African Wildlife foundation. Not following any other Royal or personal accounts.
Instagram style: Meghan was a successful Insta-influencer before meeting Harry and the pair now pepper their account with inspirational slogans, and galleries of arty black and white shots.
The account started in April 2019, with a logo of an intertwined H and M under a crown. Within six hours they had 1 million followers — a Guinness World record.
Meghan was a successful Insta-influencer before meeting Harry and the pair now pepper their account with inspirational slogans, and galleries of arty black and white shots
Greatest hits: The (rare) personal posts get huge likes — 2.7 million liked the official picture of Archie’s christening and 2.8 million liked a picture taken at his first (and so far only) photocall.
Another big success was a picture posted of Meghan to wish her Happy Birthday, which reeled in 1.2 million likes. Previously unseen pictures released to mark Harry’s birthday earlier this month garnered 1.03 million.
Less popular: Inspirational quotes — from figures including Nelson Mandela — aren’t greeted with huge enthusiasm and tend to get around 300,000 likes.
A post ‘honouring the life and work of photographer Peter Lindbergh’, whom fashion-conscious Meghan chose to take pictures for her Vogue cover, got 311,000 likes.
Incidentally, that ‘break the internet’ Vogue cover only received 431,000 likes. And despite the high-profile launch of her Smart Works capsule wardrobe last week, it got only 371,000 likes.
And another thing: Those cupcakes spelling out messages like: ‘you are enough’ and ‘be kind to yourself’ (posted at the height of the private air travel row) garnered a ho-hum (for them!) 319,000 likes.
Number of posts: 2,737
Followers: 6.7 million
Following: The Queen follows 30 accounts, including William and Kate, Harry and Meghan and Prince Charles, but not Princess Eugenie or Fergie. She also follows Team GB Hockey, RHS Wisley and BBC Newsbeat.
The Queen follows 30 accounts, including William and Kate, Harry and Meghan and Prince Charles
Instagram style: This account is not just the work of the Queen, but the wider Royal Family, and there are pictures of royals including Sophie Wessex (59,700 ‘likes’) and Princess Anne (55,000) carrying out their work.
Sophie is one of the most often posted faces, lending weight to reports that she is the Queen’s most trusted female confidante in the family. Recently, there have also been plenty of beleaguered Prince Andrew.
Greatest hits: The great-grandchildren are surefire hits, with a picture of Charlotte on her first day at school getting 579,000 likes. But it wasn’t enough to exceed a formal portrait of The Queen and Princess Anne, posted to wish Anne a Happy Birthday, which saw 608,000 likes.
The Queen and Prince Charles laughing together at the Highland games got 147,000 likes.
Less popular: A post promoting a charity furniture and woodworking course received only 34,000 likes.
And another thing: In March, the Queen made her first Instagram post, following a visit to the Science Museum. The image was an archive photograph of a letter written to her great-great-grandfather, Prince Albert, by computer pioneer Charles Babbage. (She sent her first tweet during another visit to the Science Museum in 2014.)
FERGIE’S FAMILY FUN
Number of posts: 392
Following: 656. Big-hearted Sarah follows more accounts than the rest of her former in-laws, from tennis player Rafael Nadal and Virgin businessman Richard Branson, to Sharon Osbourne.
Big-hearted Sarah follows more accounts than the rest of her former in-laws
Instagram style: Very worthy — Fergie calls herself a ‘philanthrepreneur from the heart’.
Greatest hits: Happy Birthday to daughter Beatrice garnered 33,000 likes. She also gets big hits for the personal stuff — a post dedicated to her late father received 37,000 likes.
Less popular: She got 3,000 likes for a post associated with the charity Street Child and 5,000 for congratulating the England cricket team. Her lowest was 797 likes for a film streaming service.
And another thing: Daughter Eugenie on her wedding day got 30,000 likes and a picture of her in her wedding outfit received 29,000.
THE PRINCESS BRIDE
Number of posts: 109
Followers: 1 million
Greatest hits: A picture of her and Beatrice going to church in matching outfits as young girls got 126,000 likes
Following: 19, including all of her family and charities such as the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Instagram style: Family-oriented. Her profile picture is her on her wedding day and there are old photos of her mum, dad and sister Beatrice.
Greatest hits: A picture of her and Beatrice going to church in matching outfits as young girls got 126,000 likes. Wishing Prince Andrew a Happy Father’s Day got 168,000 and a picture of her scoliosis scar received 130,000.
Less popular: A post about her initiative, The Anti-Slavery Collective, had 30,000 likes.
And another thing: She wished her divorced parents a Happy Anniversary this summer. ‘Thank you for always being the best of friends and bringing us up together,’ she said. It got 107,000 likes.
Number of posts: 763
Following: Prince Andrew follows 12, including William and Kate, Harry and Meghan, the Queen, his big brother Charles, Princess Eugenie and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, plus several charities.
Greatest hits: Wishing his daughter Eugenie a Happy Birthday with a grid of photos of her as a child and young woman got 23,000 likes — and him at her wedding got 40,000
Instagram style: Formal posts of him on business. Posts typically get 3,000 to 4,000 likes.
Greatest hits: Wishing his daughter Eugenie a Happy Birthday with a grid of photos of her as a child and young woman got 23,000 likes — and him at her wedding got 40,000.
Less popular: There were only 8,000 likes for a picture of him as a toddler.
And another thing: He wished the Duchess of Cornwall a Happy Birthday in July and shared a picture of them, as did the Queen. William and Harry didn’t post anything similar.
CHUCKLING PRINCE CHARMING
Number of posts: 2,245
Following: 47, including all the Royal Family except Fergie, plus Ant & Dec, Barack Obama, and Battersea Dogs Home.
And another thing: A photo of Charles and Princess Anne, shared for her birthday, got 51,000 likes
Instagram style: Rather jolly, with lots of pictures of Prince Charles’s family.
Greatest Hits: Posts often see up to 15,000 likes. A picture of Charles with William, Harry and Meghan — with Louis tweaking his nose — got 115,000 likes. A Happy Birthday to Meghan received 76,000 likes and Prince George 44,000, and Archie’s christening 78,000.
Less popular: Camilla promoting World Literacy Day drew only 11,500 likes.
And another thing: A photo of Charles and Princess Anne, shared for her birthday, got 51,000 likes.