Meghan Markle: Commentator discusses social media decision
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made headlines at the weekend when an insider claimed the couple had “no plans” to return to social media. The source said Meghan and Harry would not be using social media to promote their new Archewell Foundation and were “very unlikely” to set up accounts for themselves due to the “hate” they experienced on the online platforms. Such news is not altogether surprising, as the Duchess has been particularly vocal about how difficult she found online trolling when she was a working royal, and dubbed it “almost unsurvivable”.
The pro-Sussex biography Finding Freedom also suggested Harry struggled with the negativity online, as “he sometimes couldn’t stop himself” from reading online comments.
The book claimed “his stomach tied in the same knot every time” he read the denigrating remarks from the public.
However, the anti-social media announcement did overshadow Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, as she was celebrating her 39th birthday on the same day this news broke.
Crucially, Kate had taken to the Instagram and Twitter accounts she shares with Prince William to thank her well-wishers just hours before.
On the @kensingtonroyal page, the Cambridges’ representatives posted a recent image of Kate in a face mask, and wrote: “Thank you for your kind wishes on the Duchess’ birthday.
Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Kate’s post on social media to thank her fans for the birthday wishes
“Birthdays have been very different in recent months, and our thoughts continue to be with all those working on the front line at this hugely challenging time.”
This makes the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s decision to renounce social media stand in stark contrast to the Cambridges’ enthusiastic use of the online platforms — especially as Kate and William had put up two posts for the first time since Christmas on that same day.
This is also not the first time the Sussexes appear to have encroached on Kate’s personal celebrations.
Meghan and Harry announced their decision to leave the royal frontline in a bombshell social media post last year, the day before Kate’s 38th birthday.
It’s thought that the couple were concerned that news of them moving abroad was about to hit the front pages.
They were therefore determined to make their own announcement — even if it meant eclipsing Kate’s special day.
William was said to be “incandescent with rage” over their sudden declaration, while Kate was pictured arriving at Kensington Palace grim-faced, despite the celebrations.
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Meghan and Harry made their ‘declaration of independence’ on social media more than a year ago
The ‘Megxit’ announcement coincided with Kate’s 38th birthday
The Sussexes were also accused of stealing Princess Eugenie’s thunder back at her 2018 wedding.
The couple reportedly told friends and family that they were expecting their firstborn at Eugenie’s nuptials.
A source told Finding Freedom that this announcement “did not go down particularly well with Eugenie” who felt that Meghan and Harry “should have waited to share the news”.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex then told the general public of Meghan’s pregnancy three days later via Instagram, instead of in a formal statement through the Palace.
It is worth noting that social media was often the battlefield for the behind-the-scenes rivalry between the Sussexes and Cambridges.
Meghan and Harry first showed their independence apart from the rest of the Palace through setting up their own social media pages in April 2019.
The couple used to share the social media account, @kensingtonroyal, with the Cambridges, until they decided to branch away.
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William, Kate, Meghan and Harry were once dubbed “the Fab Fou”
The two couples were last seen in public together during the Commonwealth Day service back in March 2020
While Meghan had to give up her personal social media accounts prior to joining the royal frontline, the couple set up a new Instagram account called @sussexroyal page instead.
They set it up almost two years ago and it amassed more than one million followers in just five hours and 45 minutes — a record-breaking time back then.
A tacit competition then seemed to break out between the Cambridges and the Sussexes over the number of followers each account had and the likes each post garnered.
The Sussexes were also praised for being more intimate and showing previously unseen photographs on their account.
But @sussexroyal was discontinued when the Queen ruled the couple could no longer use the term “royal” in any working capacity after leaving the Firm last year.
Meghan and Harry have still not taken this account down, even though it has been inactive for close to a year.
It was not long until the Cambridges hired the Sussexes’ former social media manager and have seen increased success on their online presence since.
Archewell.com, Meghan and Harry’s new platform
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have not taken down their old social media page despite not using it since March last year
Instead, the couple are likely to rely on the organisations they work with to promote their charitable endeavours, as they have been doing for the last few months.
Additionally, they now have their Archewell venture to promote their work through its three new branches; the Spotify podcast Archewell Audio, the Netflix programmes with Archewell Productions and the charitable ventures with the Archewell Foundation.
Harry has also dismissed the need for publicity in the past, according to Finding Freedom.
He allegedly told a friend: “I don’t need to have that movie moment where we get out of a car and wave to 100 photographers before going into a building.
“It should just be about the work happening inside.
“Let’s focus on what really matters.”