Royalty relies on image. Since medieval times, the appearance of things regal plays a big part in the success or otherwise of a dynasty. From Holbein's portraits to Beaton's photos, one moment caught forever can have a huge say on the forever prospects of a royal family. In the 21st century, image remains just as important and is played out in many different ways with Instagram increasingly popular. Nearly all the royal houses of Europe have an official account now (we're looking at you, here, Felipe and Letizia because you broke our hearts not launching one to co-incide with the State Visit) and what they post there gives us a pretty good idea of how they want to be seen right now. Just as importantly, what we like gives a good indication of how we see the royals right now. And birthdays and cute kids always win. Nothing beats a birthday on Instagram. Except puppies, and we had one of those this month, too. In a cake filled month, here's what won hearts for the royals in July 2017.
The Duke and Duchess are delighted to share a new official portrait of Prince George to mark His Royal Highness's fourth birthday tomorrow 🎈The photograph was taken at Kensington Palace at the end of June by Chris Jackson. The Duke and Duchess are very pleased to share this lovely picture as they celebrate Prince George's fourth birthday, and would like to thank everyone for all of the kind messages they have received.
To be honest, there was only ever one contender for most popular official royal Instagram of July 2017. Birthday boy George always had this one in the bag. Turning four guaranteed us a new official photo which had the top spot sorted before it was even released. But the Chris Jackson portrait of a smiling George was successful beyond anything seen so far on official royal Instagram accounts. It took 307k likes and counting in just a few days, making it easily that channel's most liked photo ever and. That's in a month with a lot of photos to get through as the Cambridges toured Germany and Poland, hit Wimbledon and did the whole State Banquet thing when King Felipe and Queen Letizia came to call. Nothing came close to George.
#princesselisabeth #princegabriel #princeemmanuel and #princesseleonore of #belgium🇧🇪 leaving @belgianroyalpalace to attend #military #parade on #belgian #nationalday 🇧🇪 in #brussels with their parents #kingphilippe and #queenmathilde #royalfamily #21juli #21juillet #21july #koningfilip #koninginmathilde #roiphilippe #reinemathilde
Belgium's official royal Instagram account also had its best month ever. This is one of the newest around and it's still building a following. Right now it has just under 6,500 followers compared to Kensington Palace's 2 million. So it's most liked image of July is a real triumph. OK, it's only on 3,000 or so likes but that's about half its followers and it's easily the most popular post it's had so far. And it shows that the next generation of the country's royals are bringing in the likes - this photo of heir to the throne, Princess Elisabeth, with her two brothers and sister was shared to mark Belgium's National Day on July 21st and outdid anything else on the account with no questions asked. Check out the comments, Elisabeth is a royal star in the making.
Kronprinsen holdt tale ved avdukingen av statuen av Dronning Sonja i Slottsparken. Statuen er en gave fra Den norske Turistforening i anledning av Dronningens 80 årsdag, og den er laget billedhugger Kirsten Kokkin. Foto: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, Det kongelige hoff #dronningsonja #dronningen #kronprinsen #kronprinshaakon #detkongeligeslott #kongehuset #slottsparken #den norsketuristforening #dnt #turistforeningen #oslo
Back to the birthdays and another anniversary special ended up as the most liked Instagram post on the official Norwegian royal account. The slightly awkward photo of Crown Prince Haakon Magnus unveiling the, shall we call it unusual, statue of his mother, Queen Sonja, on her actual 80th birthday took at terrific 2,115 hears in July, making it one of this new account's most popular posts ever. This royal channel started out by promising to put the people and places visited by the Royal Family at the top of its agenda but in a summer of celebrating birthdays, it's the family itself who have ended up centre stage with the like count going up as a result. Pretty pictures of princes and princesses are where it's at with Instagram.
If you don't have a really big birthday or a huge anniversary to post about, pets will always prove popular. Denmark's royals gave us a dog on Instagram in July 2017, what's not to love? Crown Princess Mary shared two photos of her family's new pet dog, Grace, on the official account and sent the heart meter soaring. The pair of snaps took in over 13,000 likes during the month. The comments are interesting, too. Plenty of those who left a message were oohing over Grace and remembering Ziggy, the princely pet pooch who passed away earlier this year. This post is a great example of how Instagram and social media allows the royals to take full control of their image - Instagram offers the royals a chance to add something more personal to the public image on their own terms while keeping their hands firmly on the keys to the castle door.