Skip to content

The One Lesson William & Kate Learned From Harry & Meghan, Sources Say

"If they are to survive in a rapidly changing world ... they have to keep up with the times."

In their latest move in promoting their roles as the face and voice of a modern British monarchy, Prince William and Duchess Catherine launched their own YouTube channel, which debuted earlier this week. The smiling couple appeared in their first video seated together on their sofa at Anmer Hall, their country home in Norfolk. The casually dressed duke and duchess struck a lighthearted tone as William pointed to the camera jokingly warning Kate: "By the way, you need to be careful what you say now because these guys are filming everything."

The 25-second spot, comprised of a flash of video clips of the Cambridges at work and play and timed to the beat of techno music, showcases the couple's ubiquity in Britain and abroad. There are quick takes of a delighted Kate shearing sheep and meeting school children. William is seen flying a helicopter and talking with an array of different people, including Sir David Attenborough, who has worked with the prince promoting his Earthshot Prize for the environment. There are also several images of William and Kate together, most notably when they introduced Queen Elizabeth to the children's garden Kate designed for the Chelsea Flower show in 2019.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have made other significant upgrades to their social media accounts this week as well. The couple changed the username on their Instagram account, which currently has 12.8 million followers, from @kensingtonroyal to @dukeandduchessofcambridge. They announced the launch of their YouTube channel on their newly renamed Instagram page, acknowledging they were somewhat late to the party. The video was captioned: "Better late than never – we're now on @YouTube."

"William and Catherine have, in the last year or so, carefully curated and updated their social media platforms to be more in touch with people and the concerns of their everyday lives," one royal insider told Best Life. "When the Palace decided the Duke and Duchess were to take the lead representing the Royal Family during the pandemic, they didn't realize just how big an impact that would have on their popularity. During this critical time for the monarchy, they have been uplifting and inspiring role models that the [British] public has reacted to in a very positive way."

As for who or what might have inspired the Cambridges' social media upgrade, some royal sources say their decision to post their own personal videos may have been galvanized by Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan, who have increasingly communicated through videos (often shot in or around their California home) since stepping down from royal life last year. Read on to find out what lessons the Cambridges learned from the Sussexes in upping their social media game. And for more on the future of Harry's relationship with his family, find out why Diana's Friends Fear Harry Could Make This "Unthinkable" Decision Next.

Read the original article on Best Life.

William and Kate and Harry and Meghan first began as a double act on Instagram.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle and the Duchess and Duke of Cambridge during the first Royal Foundation Forum in central London.
Chris Jackson / PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

At first, the Cambridges' social media presence was linked with the Sussexes'. The @kensingtonroyal Instagram had previously included all four royals until Harry and Meghan moved out of the couples' shared offices at Kensington Palace and launched their own independent @sussexroyal Instagram page. They shut down the page after they stepped back from their senior royal roles in the spring of 2020 and now mainly communicate through the website for their foundation Archewell.

"Harry and Meghan have been very successful in delivering and controlling their message through their own videos," the insider told Best Life. "They have used them to mark milestones, deliver messages relating to the causes they support, and give people a glimpse into their personal life. Whether or not William and Kate may have been influenced by Harry and Meghan here, they are smart to make themselves more accessible and down to earth using videos at a time when the very existence of the monarchy has come into question." And for more on that, find out The One "Drastic Change" the Queen Is About to Make Now, Insiders Say.

William and Kate may have taken a page out of the Sussexes' playbook to rebrand and have made their platforms more personal.

As royal biographer Robert Lacey told Best Life last year, the Cambridges hired David Watkins, the social media wizard behind Harry and Meghan's short-lived Sussex Royal website and Instagram account, who was let go on the Sussexes' final day as senior royals. "Digital Dave," as he is known, became "Digital for TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge" in April of last year. "It was a very telling decision to make," said Lacey.

A recent post on the newly rebranded Instagram account gave followers a sneak peek at Kate's new photography book, Hold Still, which features the 100 final submissions selected out of 33,000 entrants from the photography contest the Duchess created with the National Portrait Gallery. A sleek, chic Kate, who is patron of the museum, appeared on video to promote the unveiling of the winning image in the fall of 2020.

Meghan and Harry had been using @sussexroyal since April 2019, but were denied the use of name in any future commercial ventures when their official exit agreement was finalized in March of last year. The Sussexes permanently signed off from the account on March 30 (the same day their exit agreement was finalized), thanking their followers "for the support, the inspiration and the shared commitment to the good in the world." The inactive account remains on Instagram with 10.2 million followers.

Since then, Harry and Meghan have maintained a consistent presence via videos recorded from their California home. Some have been created jointly, while others independently, like when Meghan sat down with feminist icon Gloria Steinem for a Makers interview, where the two women discussed voter engagement in the months before the 2020 presidential election. The couple also appeared in a video segment on the U.S. television broadcast announcing 2020's Time 100 list last September. Harry talked about the importance of voting, having never been able to do so in the U.K. as a member of the Royal Family, while Meghan commented that the upcoming election was "the most important in our lifetime."

"William and Kate would never be as political as Harry and Meghan in their videos because members of the Royal Family have always appeared neutral," one source told Best Life. "But they certainly must have been aware of how impactful the videos with Meghan and Harry were and knew they could use the medium just as effectively." And for more on who's gained popularity since the Sussexes' bombshell interview, This Is the Most Popular Royal After Harry & Meghan's Tell-All, Poll Shows.

The Cambridges and the Sussexes have both decided to make their platforms a family affair.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal)

To commemorate their milestone 10th wedding anniversary, William and Kate released a stunning, professionally shot video, complete with a soundtrack, featuring their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis that gave fans a rare glimpse into their family life. The couple are seen playing with their children on the dunes of a nearby beach, running through the verdant fields of Anmer Hall and roasting marshmallows over a campfire.

Before the Cambridges embraced this format, Harry and Meghan offered a glimpse of their son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, in a sweet video last year, illustrating the growing bond between mother and son. In the short clip, shot by the duke, a make-up free Meghan, clad in a denim shirt, is seen reading Duck! Rabbit!, a gift from Oprah Winfrey, to Archie. This year, instead of a video, the couple just released a photo of their son on his second birthday. The image of Archie holding birthday balloons, seen only from the back, was first posted to their Archewell Foundation's website, encouraging supporters to donate to a vaccination charity to mark the occasion. And for more on Winfrey's interview with the Sussexes, check out Oprah Asked Meghan & Harry to Agree to This One Thing Before the Tell-All.

The Royal Family's social media game is not limited to the younger generation of royals.

Queen Elizabeth leaves St. Mary the Virgin church in Hillington, near royal Sandringham estate, in Norfolk, Britain January 19, 2020.
Chris Radburn / REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

The Cambridges are not the first royal YouTubers, though. The Queen was an early adopter and launched her own channel, called The Royal Family, to promote the work of the monarchy in 2007. The concept of video-sharing was reportedly introduced to her by her granddaughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie. Her Majesty most memorably appeared in a video with Harry issuing a challenge to the president and first lady of the U.S. at the time, Barack and Michelle Obama, on the eve of the 2016 Invictus Games.

"The royals know if they are to survive and thrive in a rapidly changing world, they have to keep up with the times and that means creating a sense of intimacy through videos and other social media," a royal insider told Best Life. "The Queen knew that years ago, Harry and Meghan instinctively understood this when they started their new life in America, and now William and Kate are doing it. It's all very smart and very necessary." And for more on the family members who have iced Harry out, check out These 3 Royals Aren't Willing to Forgive Prince Harry, Says Source.

Diane Clehane is a New York-based journalist and author of Imagining Diana and Diana: The Secrets of Her Style.

Filed Under