The Royal 2017: the most popular photo was....

True love really does conquer all. It's less than a week old and we've only known about it since yesterday but THAT black and white snap of a snuggling Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, released as one of their official engagment portraits, can now lay one claim to being the most popular royal photos of the year. It's topped the poll of the most liked pictures on the official royal Instagram accounts this year.

The photo, taken by Alexi Lubomirski at Frogmore House, Windsor, has so far won 697,000 likes and counting.  It's way ahead of the second most liked image, another of the engagement snaps which has 619k likes. In fact, the three engagement photos of Harry and Meghan have taken almost 2 million likes in a day. That's more hearts than all the images on the Clarence House account got in 2017 put together. It also beats out the annual tally for all the images on the Danish official account. In fact, if you add together all the hearts won by the Norwegian, Dutch and Belgian official Instagrams in 2017, the likes for these three engagement pics on Kensington Royal's account alone are still in the lead.

It's perhaps not surprising, given that Kensington Palace's official Instagram account has 2.7 million followers while the Belgian royals have just under 6,000. And given that Kate, William, Harry, George, Charlotte and now Meghan are among the most photographed people in the world, any chance to see snaps of them is going to be a hit. Until uncle Harry went and popped the question, Prince George was the undisputed king of royal Instagram with photos of him regularly topping monthly popularity polls. But the royal 2017 belongs, image wise, to Meghan and her man. One of their engagement photos was also the most popular on the Royal Family's Instagram 2017 rundown, taking 156k likes.

The other royal accounts have all seen a surge of popularity on Instagram, too, perhaps indicating just how important image is to Europe's ruling houses right now. And the photos we want to see are all about family. A quick run down of the top image on each Instagram account shows that when it comes to getting popular support, the f word will always win it.  In Sweden, the photo of Crown Princess Victoria with her two children on her 40th birthday toppe the Instagram likes with almost 52k while a picture of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima with their three children on King's Day won 30k likes for the brand new Dutch royal Instagram account. Top photo in Denmark was a snap of Prince Vincent and Priness Josephine on their first day at school (it has 25,000 hearts so far) while the family Christmas image of Norway's royals was their most liked (almost 6,000 at the moment). Family mattered, too, in Belgium where the biggest hit was a photo of the children of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde on National Day (3.2k likes) and Clarence House's most popular post was an archive image of Prince Harry with Prince Charles, used as a proud daddy announced his younger son's engagement (26k likes and counting). 

But the year belongs to Harry and Meghan. The coming twelve months might well yield the same result although baby Cambridge number three might have something to say about that. OK, it's Instagram but remember the power of the photo for modern royals. In a world when social media informs many people's news more than traditional channels do and where a photo can tell a story quicker than any well crafted press release, what the royals put on their Instagram tells us a lot about how they see themselves. What we like tells them a lot about what we want from modern royalty. And in 2017, what really got hearts flying was a traditional royal romance and lots of family time. Very telling indeed. 


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