A man from West Sussex has claimed that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have taken his Instagram handle to use themselves.
Kevin Keiley, a driving instructor by trade, has told the BBC that Instagram has changed his handle without telling him, after having used the handle @sussexroyal for around three years. This was the handle that Keiley selected upon signing up to the photo sharing platform as he is a supporter of Reading Football Club, whose nickname is the Royals, and lives in Sussex.
Last week, Keiley discovered that Instagram had changed his handle and his original one had been given to Harry and Meghan. He explained that it was his son who first alerted him to the change, when he sent a light-hearted text to his father saying “I see your handle’s gone then”, prompting Keiley to check his account. Upon finding out what had happened, he said that he was both flattered and annoyed. Furthermore, the platform had made this change without asking or informing Kevin.
A statement from Instagram states that the handle was changed because Kevin’s account was deemed inactive. The site says that this has been done in line with the company’s policy, which states the platform can make changes to specific accounts should they be inactive for a certain period of time. Following the royal acquisition, Keiley’s handle had suddenly changed to ‘@_sussexroyal_’.
He admits that he didn’t have many followers on the platform and that he didn’t upload content to his account on a frequent basis, but did remain active as he used it to follow other accounts and like posts seen from his news feed.
No-one from Instagram or the Royal Family contacted him to ask if they could make the change. The handle dispute comes as the official title of Prince Harry and Meghan is the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
The royal couple launched their Instagram account on Tuesday, using the handle @sussexroyal. It even broke a world record for the fastest account to reach one million followers.
It managed to reach this milestone in just five hours and 45 minutes, smashing the previous record set by Kang Daniel, a Korean pop star, who hit the milestone after 11 and a half hours.
Keiley currently holds the same username on microblogging site Twitter, which has not been taken as yet. He says his follower count on that platform has increased as a result of his Instagram dispute and says that if the Royals want to take this handle, they should ask him first.