From the outside looking in, being a member of the Royal Family seems pretty sweet. From the day these royals are born, they have a small army of people who must do whatever they say!
Everyone likes the idea of making the rules. But would you believe there are special rules even the Royal Family must follow? And these rules are particularly strict when it comes to social media.
Don’t believe it? Keep reading to learn about the rules that even the Queen herself must follow!
No personal social media profiles
Perhaps the weirdest social media rule the Royal Family must follow is also the strictest. Specifically, royals are not allowed to have their own social media profiles!
As PopSugar reports, working royals cannot have their own personal social media accounts. Instead, they can only share posts through official royal accounts (such as @RoyalFamily on Twitter) that are managed by staff.
However, members of the Royal Family who are not working royals can open personal social media accounts. The first member of the immediate Royal Family to take advantage of this was Princess Eugenie, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s daughter, who created her own Instagram profile in March 2018. She currently has 1.6 million followers!
Her sister Princess Beatrice, meanwhile, is rumored to have a secret private Instagram account called @beayork (via Cosmopolitan).
But the two most famous royals you won’t see on social media are Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Despite stepping down as working royals in early 2020, Harry and Meghan have declined to create personal social media profiles. The last time they posted on their @SussexRoyal Instagram page was in March 2020.
No sharing photos of private palace areas
But just because Princess Eugenie is allowed to run her own Instagram page doesn’t mean there aren’t royal rules she has to follow. Royals actually need to be very careful of what pictures they take and share, lest they divulge royal secrets.
UK Vogue reports that, in 2018, Eugenie made a big faux pas on her then-new Instagram account when she shared a photo the public never should have seen.
“I recently got in trouble for posting a picture of Papa in a corridor of the palace that was off-limits to the public,” the princess said.
We can only imagine that her father, the disgraced Prince Andrew, appreciates a policy that restricts people who document his comings and goings!
Royals are basically celebrities. And when fans run into their favorite celebs, they often want to take a selfie. However, doing so is strictly against the royal rules!
Meghan Markle actually spilled the beans on this one. As reported by Insider, both Meghan and Harry discovered many fans when they attended a charity fair for World AIDS Day in late 2017. But when a fan asked Meghan for a selfie, she quickly replied, “We’re not allowed to do selfies.”
And before you ask: No, royals can’t sign autographs, either. This is to prevent people from being able to forge their signatures.
No sponsored content
Can royals create sponsored content on their social media accounts? Not if they’re working members of the Royal Family.
Sponsored content, or promoting content for a company by receiving something in return (such as payment or a gift), is strictly forbidden.
Kensington Palace put out a very direct statement about this topic when businesses tried to send Harry and Meghan wedding gifts, hoping to get promotion of their products out of it.
“When gifts are accepted, the consent of the Member of the Royal Family should be contingent upon the enterprise undertaking not to exploit the gift for commercial purposes,” the statement read (via Express).
In fact, Harry and Meghan had to return £7 million ($9.3 million USD) worth of wedding presents they received from companies and celebrities.
So, what does this mean for sponsored content posts on social media?
“Working members of the royal family would not enter into sponsorship deals with companies,” royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams said (via Yahoo!).
Still, this doesn’t mean that non-working royals can’t create sponsored content. In fact, the first royal to share sponsored content on social media was Lady Amelia Windsor in summer 2018.
Pictured above, Amelia, 26, is the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth’s cousin the Duke of Kent. This makes her a distant cousin of William and Harry’s, as well as 38th in the line of succession.
It’s no surprise, since she doesn’t have to follow the rules on no sponsored content, she doesn’t have to follow the rules on no autographs either!
Avoid political affiliations
You know that advice your parents gave you about not talking politics with strangers? That’s actually advice the Royal Family must follow, of a sort.
Specifically, working royals must avoid voting, discussing politics, or doing anything that might betray their overall political neutrality, according to PopSugar.
These rules extend to real life as well, but they are particularly important across social media. This is likely one more reason royals can’t run their own social media accounts: so they don’t accidentally post, share, like, or comment in such a way that indicates political preference.
Royals’ social media followers have their own set of rules
Obviously, the Royal Family has very strict social media rules they must follow. Is it any surprise that they require their online followers to abide by special rules as well?
According to the Royal Family’s official social media guidelines (issued in 2019 to combat trolls), comments on royal Twitter and Instagram accounts must not be offensive, contain spam, or promote any kind of hatred or violence. And to create the intended “safe environment,” followers’ posts must not be “off-topic, irrelevant or unintelligible.”
Speaking of a safe environment, the guidelines also encourage followers to show empathy and understanding toward others. “We ask that anyone engaging with our social media channels shows courtesy, kindness, and respect for all other members of our social media communities.”
If you break the rules, there are consequences.
What happens to followers who break the rules?
Now you know what the rules are for online followers of the Royal Family. But what happens if someone breaks those rules?
Those same Royal Family social media guidelines spell out that if someone violates the rules, those who manage the account can hide comments, delete comments, and block followers.
Depending on what someone posts, the rules clarify, “We also reserve the right to send any comments we deem appropriate to law enforcement authorities for investigation as we feel necessary or is required by law.”
In particular, Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton have been on the receiving end of some extreme online trolling and hate speech. Fortunately, it takes only a click to block such users and, as needed, report them to the authorities.