The BBC reports that the hapless original owner of @sussexroyal is named Kevin Keiley, and he lives in West Sussex. He alleges that the handle change occurred without his knowledge or consent, and that the royals were in cahoots with Instagram to pilfer his beloved username. And he is not happy about losing it.
The handle is a reference to his hometown and to the Reading Football Club, also known as the Royals, of which Keiley is a fan. He told the BBC that he had the account for a few years, and while he didn’t post much, he liked photos and followed other users. “I didn't ask for this. I've had the account for years. It's not very pleasant,” he said, adding that he is “annoyed” about the thievery.
Keiley found out about this egregious use of eminent domain from — who else? — his son. “I got a jokey text from my son which said, ‘Ha ha, I see your handle has gone then. ’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.”
He still owns @sussexroyal on Twitter, where he has called on Kensington Palace to apologize for the heist. “All I have ever asked is for an apology from Instagram. I continue to say I have nothing against Prince Harry or his family but that does not put people off the abuse,” he wrote. Keiley also told the BBC that he has no plans to return to Instagram until he has “a chat with them personally,” which, uh, good luck with that.
All I have ever asked is for an apology from Instagram. I continue to say I have nothing against Prince Harry or his family but that does not put people off the abuse— Kevin Keiley (@Sussexroyal) April 6, 2019
Meanwhile, the royals have already used their Instagram to shout out the #GlobalBabySussexBabyShower, a campaign to donate to charity in Baby Sussex’s name. They wrote that they are “immensely grateful for the outpouring of love and support in anticipation of the birth of their first child.” Think of this as a reverse-Robin Hood situation.
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What an incredibly special surprise the grassroots led #globalsussexbabyshower was last Sunday! The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are immensely grateful for the outpouring of love and support in anticipation of the birth of their first child. In lieu of sending gifts, the couple have long planned to encourage members of the public to make donations to select charities for children and parents in need. If you already made a donation, the couple send you their greatest thanks. If you are thinking about it, they ask that you kindly consider the following organisations they’ve selected, which we will highlight here over the next few days: @thelunchboxfund @littlevillagehq @wellchild @baby2baby The Duke and Duchess remain appreciative for your warm wishes and kindness during this especially happy time in their lives! Thank you for sharing the love ❤️