The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have launched their own official Instagram account, as they seize control of their royal brand ahead of the birth of their baby.
The Duke and Duchess, who are creating a new team of aides based at Buckingham Palace, have formally separated from the Cambridges on social media, promising to publish their “important announcements” directly to fans.
The new account, called SussexRoyal, has been created in time for the birth of Baby Sussex at the end of this month, with royal-watchers now expecting the first photographs to be posted on Instagram as the couple eschew an appearance outside the Lindo Wing.
A debut post, signed “Harry and Meghan”, gives a heavy hint to the future of their working lives, with professional photographs of them with women, the military and endangered wildlife, and a promise to “shine a light on key issues”.
It is understood that the couple have chosen to use only the picture-driven format of Instagram for now, with no Twitter or Facebook account planned for the immediate future.
The decision gives the Sussexes and their staff much greater control over the public’s interaction with their posts, with Instagram – unlike other social media platforms – granting the ability to filter and delete unsuitable or unwanted comments.
Until now, the Sussexes and Cambridges have shared social media accounts run by Kensington Palace, which has become increasingly overwhelmed by the vitriol aimed at the two Duchesses by rival groups of fans.
The original account, followed by 7.1 million on Instagram and 1.7m on Twitter, is now described as “the official account of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Royal Foundation”.
The change follows last month’s announcement that the siblings would be officially parting ways, with the Cambridges remaining at Kensington Palace and a new team being created at Buckingham Palace to support Prince Harry and Meghan in their life as a family of three.
A first post by SussexRoyal said: “Welcome to our official Instagram; we look forward to sharing the work that drives us, the causes we support, important announcements, and the opportunity to shine a light on key issues.
“We thank you for your support, and welcome you to @sussexroyal – Harry & Meghan”.
The account, which has more than 500,000 already, is accompanied by an image bearing a white version of couple’s royal cypher: the entwined initials H and M below a coronet on a navy background.
It was followed by a series of nine photographs showing the couple undertaking a walkabout with schoolchildren, waving to crowds from a balcony in Fiji, and on a Sydney Harbour boat during the 2018 Invictus Games.
In one, the Duchess hugs two women tightly, and in another, she crouches down on a jetty in Fraser Islands, Australia, to speak to an elderly lady
Images featuring the Duke show him with the Royal Marines in Norway and with elephant conservationists from African Parks.
The Sussexes have so far not launched a Twitter account, with the same handle, @sussexroyal, currently occupied by a football fan named Kevin Keiley who has tweeted only a handful of times over the last seven years.
The account was warmly welcomed by devoted fans of the Duchess, who have long complained that her social media “voice” has been stifled by palace life, and immediately followed by celebrities.
In her former life as Meghan Markle, the Duchess was a prolific user of the platform, regularly posting images of food, travel and fun with her friends.
Since joining the Royal Family, she and the Duke have occasionally posted their own photographs behind the scenes on their autumn tour.
The new social media strategy comes as the Sussexes prepare to re-launch their working lives following the birth of their baby, under the guidance of a communications advisor and strategist Sara Latham, who has previously worked on American political campaigns
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