Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s decision to step back from their royal roles captured the world’s attention earlier this year, and nine months later, their new lives in the United States as full-time philanthropists and nonprofit founders has continued to intrigue and inspire millions. In fact, Meghan was the most tweeted-about member of the royal family in 2020, closely followed by Harry and Queen Elizabeth, respectively, BAZAAR.com can reveal.
In a year that has seen interest in the House of Windsor surge, thanks to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s official departure in March, as well as the recent release of The Crown’s fourth season, more than 20 million tweets around the world were written about royal family members—a rise of more than 30 percent from the previous year, according to official data shared by Twitter, Inc. The social media platform currently has more than 330 million active monthly users in over 180 countries.
The data shared exclusively with BAZAAR sees Meghan and Harry taking the top two spots by a landslide. The duchess’s newly found freedom, steady stream of meaningful appearances, and candid conversations, including her emotional New York Times essay last month on losing a baby, saw Meghan at the center of more Twitter conversations than any other royal.
Harry’s popularity in the United Kingdom may have reportedly taken a hit due to his decision to prioritize the well-being of his family over royal duty, but the duke received overwhelming online support throughout the year, including from the military community in October after attempts from British tabloids tried to discredit his contributions to veterans. Joint efforts from the Sussexes to amplify the voices of numerous social activists and support Black Lives Matter (a global movement that no other royal acknowledged) also saw universal praise for the couple, who are yet to have an official presence on Twitter.
The queen’s steady presence throughout the coronavirus pandemic saw continued interest in the monarch as she broke new ground with video call engagements throughout the summer and a rare televised speech in April as Britain experienced its first nationwide lockdown. Husband Prince Philip, who retired from his senior role in 2017, took the ninth position on Twitter’s top 10 list, largely for his portrayal on The Crown.
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More than 23 years since her tragic passing, Princess Diana’s legacy continued to inspire and remain part of the royal conversation. Her groundbreaking appearance on BBC’s Panorama in 1995 recently found itself at the center of a public investigation in the United Kingdom over alleged unethical methods used to gain access to the late princess. And though The Crown’s newest season did not see release until November 15, millions of Netflix views quickly resulted in a surge of interest in Diana’s life story, propelling Princes Harry and William’s late mother’s name into fourth place.
Prince Charles, whose own battle with coronavirus in March made headline news, took the fifth position on Twitter’s list, largely down to tweets about the story of his first marriage in The Crown. However, his continued advocacy for environmental causes and appearance at the World Economic Forum in January garnered notable attention. Disgraced Prince Andrew, who was forced to depart from public life in November 2019, closely followed his older brother in sixth place due to continued public pressure to assist U.S. federal prosecutors investigating alleged child sex trafficking by convicted predator Jeffrey Epstein and the July arrest of the royal’s close friend Ghislaine Maxwell.
Surprisingly, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge found themselves in seventh and eighth positions, respectively, despite remaining active during the COVID-19 pandemic with multiple video call engagements and a three-day royal train tour of the U.K. earlier this month. A slew of photo ops with their three children, however, kept eyes on the family of five, helping contribute toward 400,000 new followers for the official Kensington Palace Twitter account and resulting in Princess Charlotte, who helped deliver food to the vulnerable on the eve of her fifth birthday in May, scoring her own spot on the official list at number 10.
Notably absent is Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; however, Clarence House’s Twitter account saw a steady rise of around 6,000 followers a month throughout the year. The official account for the queen and royal family, which also covers the work of fellow absentees including the Wessexes and Princess Anne, saw a healthy boost—gaining more than half a million new followers since the start of the year.
“There has always been a steady conversation about the royals on Twitter, but this year we’ve seen the appetite for royal information, stories, and history explode,” Jenna Ross, senior manager of entertainment partnerships at Twitter tells BAZAAR. “The season four release of The Crown on Netflix majorly contributed to this conversation, with fans coming together on Twitter to talk about the new episodes and share their reactions, generating over half a million Tweets about the series since its premiere.”
Most Tweeted About Royals in 2020*
- Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex
- Prince Harry
- Queen Elizabeth II
- Diana, Princess of Wales
- Prince Charles
- Prince Andrew
- Prince William
- The Duchess of Cambridge
- Prince Philip
- Princess Charlotte
*Official data provided to Harper’s BAZAAR US by Twitter Inc, based on global conversation about members of the British Royal Family. Eligible tweets were required to mention one royal, either by relevant keyword, hashtag or name (including variations of name or title).
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.