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How Princess Eugenie’s Instagram sparked a debate about Meghan Markle

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Kayleigh Dray
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How Princess Eugenie’s Instagram sparked a debate about Meghan Markle

Princess Eugenie’s Instagram account offers a very exclusive insight into royal life, but her latest picture has prompted everyone to ask the same question about Meghan Markle.

Earlier this year, Princess Eugenie surprised many when she signed up to Instagram.

And, shortly after the annual Trooping the Colour ceremony on Saturday (9 June), the young royal shared a rare photograph of her father, Prince Andrew, inside Buckingham Palace.

“A wonderful and proud day celebrating Her Majesty’s birthday and @hrhthedukeofyork for his first Trooping the Colour as Colonel in Chief of the Grenadier Guards,” she wrote alongside the snap, which depicted her father in full uniform.

Some of Eugenie’s 200,000 Instagram users have since suggested that the photograph had been snapped in an area of the palace where the public are not usually permitted – prompting many to wonder if she had broken royal protocol in posting the image to social media.

However, the bigger question on everyone’s minds is this: why is Eugenie allowed to maintain a social media presence, when Meghan Markle – now the Duchess of Sussex, following her star-studded wedding to Prince Harry – is not? 

How Princess Eugenie’s Instagram sparked a debate about Meghan Markle

As many of Meghan’s fans will already know, the former Suits actress deleted all of her social profiles in the weeks after her and Harry’s engagement was made public, in line with royal tradition. She also shut down her lifestyle blog, The Tig.

Explaining this decision at the time, Kensington Palace said that Meghan was “grateful to everyone who has followed her social media accounts over the years”, but added that “she has not used these accounts for some time.”

As a full-time royal (much like Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Prince William, Duchess Catherine – aka Kate Middleton – and Prince Harry), Meghan is now expected to share her news and updates through the official Kensington Palace channels, which are run by a social media team.

Eugenie, however, is not expected to abide by these rules. And it all comes down to her position in the royal pecking order.

Eugenie, who is ninth in line to the throne, currently works at London-based contemporary art gallery Hauser & Wirth.

This means that, unlike senior-ranking royals, she doesn’t undertake official engagements – other than the odd charity or weekend event.

As such, she is not paid for royal duties (Prince Andrew “supports both of his daughters [Eugenie and Beatrice] financially from his private income”) and is therefore allowed to maintain certain freedoms.

Certain freedoms that, yes, other members of the royal family are not privy to.

“I hope to use this platform to share the causes, passions and people close to my heart,” Eugenie announced when she first launched her personal Instagram account.

She only follows 18 people on her account, including her mother, Sarah Ferguson, and the official Royal Family Instagram.

For those worried about all Meghan has seemingly given up to join the royal family, it’s worth remembering that the actress previously insisted that she has made her peace with it.

“I don’t see it as giving anything up,” she said. “I just see it as a change. It’s a new chapter.”

She added that she feels satisfied with her work on the long-running TV series Suits, saying: “Keep in mind I’ve been working on my show for seven years, so we’re very, very fortunate to have that kind of longevity on a series and once we hit the 100th episode mark, I felt, ‘I’ve ticked this box.’

“I’m really proud to work on a team with [Harry].”

Harry, likewise, has explained that he made sure his partner knew early on that she would have to take on many responsibilities if the two ended up together.

“I know that I’m in love with this girl and I hope that she’s in love with me,” he said. “We still have to sit down on the sofa and I still had to have some pretty frank conversations with her and said what you’re letting yourself in for – it’s a big deal.

“It’s not easy for anybody, but I know that she chooses me and I choose her and whatever we have to tackle together or individually will always be us together as a team, and I think she’s capable of anything.”

Both Meghan and Harry have said that they share a passion for creating change in the world, and that they will use their positions in the public eye to do so. As such, it makes sense that Meghan has been been given the blessing of the palace to use her position to fight the good feminist fight.

To quote Priyanka Chopra: “This ever-smiling, strong free spirit found her prince, fell in love and in turn made a cynical world believe in fairy tales again…

“With her, what you see is real, and what you get is a relatable young woman with her heart and mind in the right place. Her compassion, evident in the causes she supports, and her drive to break down stereotypes – obvious in her actions – will connect her to a generation in much need of kindness.”

Chopra added: “More than anything else, Meghan is an important influencer in a world that needs strong public figures to respect and look up to. People the world can be inspired by.

“Meghan, standing shoulder to shoulder with Harry, will be a princess for the people.”

Image: Getty

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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