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Today, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge announced the launch of their brand-new YouTube channel, complete with a candid, reality TV-style video that shows some unscripted banter. While we truly do love to see those moments between William and Kate Middleton, it’s hard not to view this new social media platform as a move meant to counteract recent reports that the royal family has started to outlive its relevancy. In the aftermath of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s shocking Oprah interview, a YouGov poll showed that the British population aged 18-24 showed strong support for the Sussex couple and low support for the monarchy overall, a sharp contrast from the stance of previous generations. As Harry and Meghan continue to go viral for public appearances like the recent Vax Live concert, William and Kate may resent the fact that they’re viewed as a modern alternative to the roles they’ll inherit within the family — but they also may be borrowing from their playbook to bolster their own support.
Fans of Harry and Meghan will remember the Sussex Royal Instagram, launched in April 2019 and immediately shattering social media records for how quickly it gained a million followers. The account was an occasional source of friction when compared with William and Kate’s own Instagram following and devotion, but offered the Duke and Duchess a much-needed way of speaking slightly more directly to the people, as they did when they announced their exit from the royal family in a January 2020 post. Like Princess Diana, Meghan seemed to strike a chord in the public when they heard from her directly, and through social media, the Sussexes could leverage that interest — rather than being bombarded by paparazzi.
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On the contrary, William and Kate had long abided by the royal family motto of “never complain, never explain,” which doesn’t exactly dovetail with a robust social media strategy. While they maintained key accounts and kept followers updated on their royal events, much of their content has still been bogged down in official royal language — though increasingly, candid photos like those taken by the Duchess herself have crept up on their feed.
With the launch of a YouTube channel, Kate and William may be hoping to attract the attention of the 18-24 crowd that seems to think Harry and Meghan are more relevant public figures to guide the future — a frightening prospect for the future king and queen as their subjects’ attention drifts across the Atlantic. If Kate and William want the royal family to enjoy the attention it once did, they may have to adapt to Harry and Meghan’s more modern methods — lowering the veil and letting the people see what’s really going on.
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Click here to see Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s complete relationship timeline.
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