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Top Royal Instagrams of March 2017: everyone hearts Paris

Here's the question. The royal story that generated the most coverage, column inches and interest in March 2017 was easily Prince William's ski-ing trip to Verbier that meant he missed the annual Commonwealth Day service attended by the Queen. But will it be what the month is remembered for? Social media is a useful tool for everyone and what the official royal accounts share, and what gets the hearts there, tell us a lot about the image they want to portray and the image people want to see. Of course, we wouldn't expect the official Kensington Palace Instagram to post pics of Wills on the slopes of Switzerland and ask for comments. But while there was a lot of heat and fury about his visit to Verbier, the power of the photos taken in Paris and posted on the official Instagram has cooled some of that down. If a picture is worth 1,000 words then multiply that by the number of likes and suddenly, we have to ask if March 2017 will actually be remembered for hearts in Paris?

If so, it's a PR coup for William to match his own faux pas in equal measure. There's no doubt that the Paris images have been popular. The most liked royal Instagram of March 2017 is the now famous photo of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the Place de Trocadero, smiling at one another with the Eiffel Tower behind them. A loved up look from Wills or Kate will usually get the hearts flying on Instagram but with 102,000 likes this has taken that to a new level. Last month, a stars in their eyes shared glance won about 63,000 likes but add in pretty Paris and we go stellar. The comments say it all with more hearts and words like 'beautiful' and 'gorgeous' appearing with frequency. 

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What's even more interesting from the point of view of analysing royal image is that this photo isn't that far ahead on the likes tally for March. Usually, Kensington Palace tops the royal Insta polls but one image will take maybe 40,000 likes and others settle on around half of that. In March, three of the five photos posted from Paris got over 90,000 likes each. In total, the album of pics won 390,000 likes, a huge total. The royal story of March 2017 might have been William's ski-ing trip but the royal image is a loved up duke and duchess.

Prins Carl Philip och Prinsessan Sofia väntar barn./ Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia are expecting a child. "Vi är glada att kunna meddela att vi väntar barn, ett syskon till Prins Alexander. Vi ser fram emot att välkomna en ny liten medlem till vår familj", säger Prins Carl Philip och Prinsessan Sofia. Prinsessan Sofia mår bra och födseln beräknas till september 2017. Under våren och sommaren 2017 förväntas inga större förändringar i Prinsparets program. "We are happy to announce that we are expecting a child, a sibling to Prince Alexander. We are looking forward to welcoming a new little member to our family," says Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia. The birth is expected to take place in September 2017. No changes in the schedule of The Prince Couple's public engagements are planned during the spring and summer of 2017. Foto: #prinsparet #kungahuset
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Elsewhere, as you'd expect, a rather lovely photo of a happy family including a royal baby was winning hearts all over the place on the official Swedish Royal Household account. The portrait of Prince Carl Philip, Princess Sofia and Prince Alexander released as they announced they would welcome a new member to their family in September hit almost 36,000 likes in just a few days. 
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Instagram is all about a great image - vital for royalty in the 21st century - and some photos are just so great that they'll always prove a hit. Clarence House found that out in March when it posted a portrait of the Prince of Wales and the Queen taken by Nick Knight to mark Mother's Day. It won 12,000 likes within days - just three months earlier, it got 15k when it was first shared on the official royal account.   Clarence House's top image usually gets around half that number in a month but this repeat was a popular move in March.
If royal relationships always get people excited, then a bit of pomp and ceremony can do exactly the same. The Belgian State Visit to Denmark at the end of March proved hugely successful - in part, down to the masterful sharing of images by both royal houses throughout the three days. We got plenty of photos, videos and behind the scenes glimpses of Philippe and Mathilde in Copenhagen but the one that won the most fans was an official portrait of the King and Queen of the Belgians with Queen Margrethe and her family ahead of the State Dinner on March 28th. The diamond studded photo got over 7,000 likes - a strong showing on this account - and proof that even in 2017, sometimes what we want from our royals is a bit of tradition.
We also like a bit of quirk. The relatively new official Instagram account of Belgium's royals shared lots of photos of the State Visit but got the most likes for a behind the scenes picture of King Philippe and Crown Prince Frederik going on a jog after a long day of engagements on day two. With just over 450 likes, it's definitely the bridesmaid of this month's Instagram tallies but its total is huge for this fledgling royal social media channel and the comments are interesting. Philippe, coming up to four years on the throne, will be pleased to hear that someone thinks he's the best king Belgium has ever had.
Crown Prince Frederik getting sporty also helped Norway's royal family to a big Instagram success in March. The image of Frederik taking part in the famous Birkebeiner race alongside Crown Prince Haakon Magnus got almost 1,000 likes - the biggest total yet on the fledgling official Instagram account of Norway's royals. You can see why as it ticks lots of boxes - sporty, behind the scenes, friendship between royals. And proof sport + Fred is a sure fire Insta winner if there's no loved up looks to be found.
Which brings us back to Paris. The most liked photo on the official Royal Family Instagram in March was, you've guessed it, William and Kate at the Eiffel Tower. Another version of the  image got 37,000 likes here - more than double the number for a photo of the Queen at the Commonwealth Day service. There are many ways of telling and reading the royal story in 2017. The column inches of March might have been about William's ski-ing trip but the popularity of the Paris photos shows there's other ways the royal month has been remembered. Which one leaves the lasting legacy remains to be seen.


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