A soccer fan claims his Instagram handle got taken away so Prince Harry and Meghan Markle can post from @SussexRoyal
- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle created an Instagram account on Tuesday, which quickly amassed 3.4 million followers.
- However, one Instagram user, Kevin Keiley, complained that the couple's Instagram handle, @sussexroyal, used to be his. He is now @_sussexroyal_
- Keiley, who lives in Sussex, said he found out about the switch in a message from his son.
- Instagram defended reassigning the handle on the grounds that Keiley's account was inactive.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's new Instagram account has reached 3.5 million followers since the couple first posted on Tuesday.
The duo have already treated fans to a personal message signed by them on the social media site, as well as some behind-the-scenes snaps. But what most people don't know is that their Instagram handle, @sussexroyal, was reportedly taken from another user and given to the royals without his permission.
According to BBC News, the handle previously belonged to Kevin Keiley.
He picked the handle to reflect his love of the soccer team Reading FC - nicknamed the Royals - and the fact that he lives in West Sussex.
Keiley, who had the account for three years, said that he found out his handle was taken from him and replaced with @_sussexroyal_ in at ext from his son.
He told the BBC: "I got a jokey text from my son which said 'Ha ha, I see your handle has gone then.
"I thought 'What's that all about?' He said 'Look on Instagram' so I looked on Instagram and suddenly my handle wasn't @sussexroyal anymore it was @_sussexroyal_.
"It had been taken."
Keiley said neither Instagram nor the royals contacted him about the change.
Although he didn't post often, Keiley said he used the account to like other people's posts.
Instagram confirmed to BBC Newsbeat that replacing Keiley's handle was in line with a policy which allows the site to make changes to an account after it has been inactive for a certain amount of time.
The guidelines, on Instagram's Help Centre, say: "An account is determined to be inactive based on a number of things, including the date the account was created and whether the account has been sharing photos, commenting on photos, liking photos and logging in."
He also has the same Twitter handle - which he says he is not willing to give up.
"I can tell you that Twitter's gone mental. I used to have four followers and in 24 hours I've gone up to about 198," he said.
"What I'm trying to do is keep tweeting therefore they can't take it if it's active. I don't know what the royals are planning down the line."
This is the original and only Sussexroyal. We talk about supporting Reading FC— Kevin Keiley (@Sussexroyal) April 3, 2019
Many fans speculated that the couple would create their own Twitter account after they were cut out of Kensington Palace's official Twitter photo. They used to share the account with Prince William and Kate Middleton, but have since broken away to form their own royal entity.
Keiley said that if this is the case, he wants the royals to come to him first this time.
He said: "Hello Harry and Meghan. If you do want my Twitter account as well can you at least have the decency to speak to me?"
Keiley hasn't used Instagram since his handle was changed. He said he would probably use it again one one day, "but I don't think I'll be following the royals."
Kensington Palace has declined to comment.
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