Instagram fell in love with Diana in January 2017
(photo Kensington Royal Twitter)
Nostalgia ruled Instagram as 2017 began. Maybe it was the memories of times past brought about by the passing of an old year but there was a lot of looking back as January unfolded. The most popular image on official royal accounts was over twenty years old and over 80,000 likes ahead of all others and it was only posted on January 29th. The best liked images were those of well loved royal women who spent decades winning fans and a place in regal history. Here's how Instagram got royally reflective in January 2017.
A statue of Diana, Princess of Wales will be erected in the grounds of Kensington Palace at the request of her sons, The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The Princes have convened a committee to commission and privately raise funds for the creation of the statue. This committee will advise on the selection of the sculptor and will work with Historic Royal Palaces on the statue's installation in the public gardens at Kensington Palace. The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry said: "It has been twenty years since our mother's death and the time is right to recognise her positive impact in the UK and around the world with a permanent statue. "Our mother touched so many lives. We hope the statue will help all those who visit Kensington Palace to reflect on her life and her legacy." While the sculpting of the statue will begin soon, it is not currently possible to advise when it will be unveiled. It is hoped that this will occur before the end of 2017. Further announcements on the statue's sculptor and design will be made in due course.
The most liked Instagram on an official royal account by a long, long, long way was the photo of Diana, Princess of Wales posted on the day that her sons announced they would be putting up a statue in her memory. The joy filled photo has already won 120,000 likes in three days - its nearest royal rival is a photo of the Duchess of Cambridge visiting EACH in Norfolk at the end of the month with 32,000 likes. Kensington Palace always tops the most liked Insta list every month - it has easily the most followers of all the official royal accounts - but this photo of Diana is a huge hit even by its standards. Accompanied by the poignant announcement made by the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, it's also attracted hundreds of comments and messages. This is a royal Instagram sensation, one of the biggest social media posts since the royal houses all got online. But then Diana was a moderniser. It seems kind of appropriate.
There were some big moments for the other royal accounts as well. The official Swedish account averages around 7,000 likes for a big photo on its Instagram but the image of Queen Silvia that was shared at the start of the New Year - her first photo since being taken to hospital just before Christmas - understandably got a lot of love and is currently on 21,000 likes. That's more than just about every other photo on the Kensington Palace account bar those two already mentioned of Diana and Kate. Silvia is hugely popular, there was a lot of worry over her hospital stay so a photo showing her back to health was always going to win hearts.
The Royal Family account posts images of official engagements so there was no like for like comparison with the first appearance of the Queen as she recovered from her Christmas bout of ill health - that first appearance was at church and there was no Insta moment to mark it. Instead, it was flowers that won hearts on this account. The most liked post of January 2017 was a picture of a winter flowering Camellia with its pretty pink petals fluttering in a chilly breeze.
It was a Winter's Tale on the Clarence House account as well where the most popular photo was of an anonymous guardsman standing in the freezing cold by the gates of Charles and Camilla's London home. It's rather postcard perfect and throws an interesting light on social media and the royals. There were over a dozen images of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall on their Instagram in January but none came close to the number of likes a striking picture won. The second most liked image was one of Ant and Dec after they'd received their OBEs from Prince Charles - Clarence House's social media seems to work best when it shows the world around the royals rather than when it puts them centre stage.
That interaction is reflected in the best liked image on the still fledgling Norwegian royal account. There the biggest number of likes came for a photo of Crown Prince Haakon Magnus and Crown Princess Mette-Marit watching the volleyball cup final. Sport will always bring fans to a social media account while the fact that this image looks for all the world like one taken by any other member of the audience is intriguing. There is no posed royal formality about this popular image - it's a 'one of us' image and it's got hearts to prove it.
Another off guard moment provided the new Belgian Royal Family account with its big hit of January 2017. A sweet photo of Queen Mathilde with her elder daughter, Princess Elisabeth, used to thank people for their birthday messages won 547 likes as the month came to an end - a small fraction of the hits Kensington Palace usually gets but a big number for this account which only started at the end of 2016 and is still taking root.
It does take time for new royal accounts to flourish but they usually tend to hit a run of form and then there's no stopping them. That's what happened to the Danish account which arrived in the middle of 2016 and enjoyed smallish success for a while but now sees several images a month hitting 10k or more in likes. The most popular image shared on this official royal account in January 2017 was a close run contest between the striking archive image showing the first ever portrait of Margrethe as Queen of Denmark, posted on the 45th anniversary of her accession and the black and white portrait of twins, Vincent and Josephine, used to mark their sixth birthday. In the end, the royal twins edged it with 10.9k likes to granny's 10.7k but they got stiff competition as January came to an end.
Just to prove that social media really is all about cute animal photos, a photo taken by Crown Princess Mary of her dog, Ziggy, watching the world go by grabbed over 5,000 likes in 24 hours at the end of January. There is history being written in these royal social media accounts but sometimes even that has to give way to a dog photo.