Sussex man thrust into the limelight after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle take his Instagram

Prince Harry and Meghan walk through the walled public Andalusian Gardens in Rabat, Morocco on February 25.  (Photo by Facundo Arrizabalaga - Pool/Getty Images)
Prince Harry and Meghan walk through the walled public Andalusian Gardens in Rabat, Morocco on February 25. (Photo by Facundo Arrizabalaga - Pool/Getty Images)

When Kevin Keiley posted on Facebook that he had lost his Instagram account, he could not have foreseen the internet storm that was to follow.

On Wednesday (April 3), the 55-year-old driving instructor from Worthing had his handle, @sussexroyal, given to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, for their official account.

Kevin Keiley, 55, had his Instagram handle taken over by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle SUS-190804-172327001

Kevin Keiley, 55, had his Instagram handle taken over by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle SUS-190804-172327001

Within hours Kevin, who held the Instagram account for three years, made headlines around the world – from the Daily Telegraph to the Washington Post and the Australian ABC network.

As the social media furore begins to die down, he has warned that fleeting fame is not all it is cracked up to be after receiving a barrage of online abuse.

“I’ve not enjoyed a single second of it,” said the father-of-two, who had the handle as a Reading Football Club supporter – nicknamed The Royals.

“This is my 15 minutes of fame, but that’s not always a good thing.

“People are saying ‘oh how much are you getting for it?’ – I’ve not received a penny and if I did I’d probably just give it to charity.”

As the news broke, Kevin said he was receiving 10 to 15 tweets a minute, with many of them abusive.

The original stories quoted Kevin as saying he was frustrated by Instagram’s decision, which some Harry and Meghan supporters took as a slight against their favourite royals.

He was inundated with four-letter demands to get out of the couple’s way, keep his mouth shut and other similar sentiments from complete strangers.

He has accused the national media of ‘blowing it out of proportion’ and pointed to the fact he had never said anything against the couple.

Kevin’s story was even covered on American breakfast TV show Strahan and Sara, which showed his profile picture and suggested he should change it if he ‘wanted more followers’.

Ironically, Kevin had no desire to gain more followers from the experience but has seen his Twitter numbers jump from ‘about eight’ to over 1,600 followers.

He said many people did leap to his defence, with one Twitter user collating the abusive tweets he was receiving and republishing them to show what he was being subjected to.

Reading Football Club also placed a crown on the season ticket holder’s seat at the last home game in a show of solidarity.

Some have taken the opportunity to bash the royals, accusing the couple of ‘always getting their own way’, although how much input Harry and Meghan had over the takeover is up for debate.

Despite the brief positives, Kevin said he cannot wait for the attention to pass.

“I would say to anybody else don’t post anything on social media that could get you this sort of grief or publicity, because it’s not always nice,” he warned.

Prince Harry recently said social media was ‘more addictive than drugs and alcohol’. Read the full story here: Prince Harry thinks Fortnite is ‘more addictive than drugs and alcohol’ – and calls for it to be banned