There's nothing like a bit of love at Christmas and, right now, there are over twenty million reasons for the royals to love social media. In 2017, the official accounts of the ruling houses of Europe really came into their own with all of them seeing a surge in followers and a spike in activity. And as the old year comes to an end, a quick tally shows that the biggest official royal Instagram account, that of Kensington Palace, has gone and got itself over twenty two million likes in the past twelve months. The royals of Kensington Palace are ending 2017 on a high.
As of December 22nd 2017, that one royal account had 22,003, 731 likes from 456 posts (number crunching made easy by 2017bestnine.com). It's a pretty impressive total. OK, a lot of those likes will have come from regular fans but not all of them are from the same person. The scale of their popularity indicates some breadth of appeal that is going beyond traditional royal watching circles. Kensington Palace's official account now has over 2.7 million followers as well as plenty of others checking in for new pictures without clicking a heart or leaving a comment. It's an easy and safe way for the royals to put across the image they want us all to see. That doesn't mean it has to be popular. The fact that over twenty million likes have accumulated in the past year shows that - at least when it comes to pretty pictures - Kensington Palace is riding high.
The other thing worth noting is that over 2.5 million of those likes have come in the last week. The Christmas photo of the Cambridge family might have taken all the hits for appearing stiff, formal and three months out of date but it's got almost 600,000 likes in just a handful of days. Until December 21st it was on course to be the most popular royal social media image of 2017 but then Harry and Meghan went all romantic on us. Their engagement snaps have wracked up 1.9 million likes on the Kensington Palace account alone in the 36 hours since they were shared with the black and white image of them hugging inside Harry's coat about to pass 700,000 hearts. To paraphrase Sally Field, you really like them.
There are always two ways to look at everything so consider this. Last year wasn't nearly so exciting for Kensington Palace. Princess Charlotte's first birthday was about as close as things came to a put out the bunting event. Things were mostly your average royals about town. During that 12 months, the Instagram posts got 16 million likes. Take that 22 million glistening for 2017 and take away the engagement and baby announcements that have contributed to it and you're left with around 15 million likes from more followers. Could that indicate that the day to day workings of the younger royals are actually pulling in less love than they were?
Even if that is the case, KP is still smiling. The next six months are so packed with royal goodies, from baby number three for Kate and William to that wedding at St George's, that the Instagram account could take 20 million likes in just a few weeks come the spring. Add in a christening in the summer, Princess Charlotte starting nursery, Meghan's first engagements as a duchess and quite possibly another baby announcement before Christmas and there's every chance the account will double its already impressive haul of hearts in 2018. When the future is so full of good news, it's easy to see why the social media love is worth focusing on for the royals.
The past year has seen more critique of Kate, William and Harry and a closer look at just how much they do, when and where they do it and whether they are really stepping into the gaps that are now appearing in the royal agenda as the Duke of Edinburgh retires and the Queen passes on patronages and responsibilities. The answers haven't always been what they might like to hear. But the huge popularity of their Instagram account shows that in a world ruled by image, they are reigning supreme. The years to come will bring many challenges and more questions but while the pictures keep winning hearts, who is to say they aren't influencing people as well?
Photos Kensington Royal Instagram