Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are many things: philanthropists, activists, roast-chicken eaters. But they’re also, according to a new report from the BBC, a couple of thieves. Yup, you read that correctly. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are apparently out here stealing Instagram handles from civilians.
What am I talking about, you ask? Well, let me take you back to earlier this week, when the couple launched their own Instagram account, @sussexroyal. It’s been active for only three days, and yet it’s amassed nearly 4 million followers. That’s a lot of people wanting to see photos of Markle smiling and waving.
But Page Six reports a @sussexroyal account already existed. A driving instructor from the English county of West Sussex, Kevin Keiley, claims that was the name of his IG for three years. No, this isn’t a Kensington Palace family member you don’t know about: Keiley had that handle because of where he lives and his favorite soccer team, Reading FC, which is nicknamed the Royals.
“I got a jokey text from my son, which said, ‘Ha ha, I see your handle has gone then,’” Keiley told BBC’s Radio 1 Newsbeat. “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.”
Keiley says he was “annoyed” no one from the royal family or Instagram reached out about taking his handle. “I didn’t ask for this,” he says. “I’ve had the account for years. It’s not very pleasant.” For what it’s worth, Instagram did cop to scooping up the name, citing a policy that permits them to make changes to inactive accounts.