Prince Harry and Meghan ramp up royal social media rivalry

EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Prince Harry and Meghan ramp up royal rivalry as they hire a social media expert to boost their popularity online

Prince Harry and Meghan have opened a new front in the battle for online supremacy.

The couple, who are establishing their own household after splitting with Prince William and Kate, have parked their ‘social media tanks’ on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s lawn by recruiting an online whizz to boost their popularity globally.

‘They have appointed a new member of staff to work on their social media accounts,’ a royal source tells me. ‘The new person will start in time for Meghan’s return from maternity leave.’

The Sussexes (Prince Harry and Meghan pictured with baby Archie) have parked their ‘social media tanks’ on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s lawn by recruiting an online whizz to boost their popularity globally

Harry and Meghan posted an old wedding snap on the same day as Kensington Palace tried to use the picture-sharing website to celebrate Kate’s garden design at the Chelsea Flower Show

Although officials are keen to play down any rivalry with the Cambridges, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have attracted a staggering 8.5 million followers since they launched their Instagram page in April, only 700,000 fewer than William and Kate, who joined in 2015.

Just last month, Harry and Meghan shared unseen photographs from their wedding on Instagram, on the same day as Kensington Palace tried to use the picture-sharing website to celebrate Kate’s garden design at the Chelsea Flower Show.

The Sussexes’ online enthusiasm has caused surprise as Harry previously claimed social media was more addictive than drugs or alcohol. Meghan was, though, enthralled by social media while she was still an actress.

A spokesman for the Duke and Duchess declines to comment on the appointment, but the new recruit will join a growing team of ‘spin doctors’.

Although officials are keen to play down any rivalry with the Cambridges, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have attracted a staggering 8.5 million followers since they launched their Instagram page in April, only 700,000 fewer than William and Kate, who joined in 2015

They have already appointed Sara Latham, a former adviser to Hillary Clinton, as their communications secretary and Julie Burley as senior communications officer.

Before Meghan married into the Royal Family, courtiers expected she and Harry would work closely with William and Kate as a ‘Fab Four’. 

However, the two households have since split, with Harry and Meghan moving to Frogmore Cottage in Windsor and appointing their own staff.

Their charitable foundation is also to be split, and newly published accounts reveal the huge amount of money at stake.

It raised £7.83 million last year, on top of £9 million in 2017. 

Prince Harry seems to have set a royal trend for finding love overseas. While he married an American actress, his cousin Flora Ogilvy is courting a sporty Swede.

I can disclose that the 24-year-old granddaughter of Princess Alexandra is going out with Timothy Vesterberg, 26, who was a professional ice hockey player in his homeland.

‘Flora is head over heels in love,’ one of her friends tells me. ‘They are very serious about each other.’

Flora Ogilvy, the 24-year-old granddaughter of Princess Alexandra is going out with Timothy Vesterberg, 26, who was a professional ice hockey player for Sweden

After hanging up his hockey stick, Vesterberg became a financier and is now based in London, where Flora works as an art dealer. Pals are pleased she’s found happiness as she declared last year that she was too busy for love, explaining: ‘I can’t even think about going there.’

Like Meghan, Bristol University graduate Flora enjoys a spot of acting, once spending the day as an extra on the ITV drama Downton Abbey.

Friends hope this romance has a happy ending.

Prince Louis has a new playmate. Prince William’s willowy ex, Olivia Hunt, now married to lawyer Nicholas Wilkinson, has given birth to a son, Alby. 

‘They’re absolutely delighted,’ says a friend. Olivia — who also has a daughter, Edie, two — stayed pals with William. 

He courted her at St Andrews University before he had caught a glimpse of Kate Middleton on the catwalk in her famous see-through dress.

The peaceful pleasures of Radio 4 soap The Archers are providing a most unlikely source of discord in the otherwise idyllic married life of Bake Off judge Prue Leith.

For the cookery queen’s addiction to the everyday tales of farming folk fills her husband, John Playfair — whom she wed in 2016 — with ‘disgust’. 

Particularly wearing is the show’s jaunty signature music. 

Prue reveals: ‘He has to leave the room when he hears the theme tune.’

Surely, Prue can tempt him back with cake?

Sixty can still be sexy, insists Sarah, Duchess of York — and she intends to prove it when she hits the milestone this autumn.

‘I have decided that I want to start dressing more sexy and sassy, so I can be fabulous at 60,’ Fergie tells me. 

Speaking at the Butterfly Ball at Grosvenor House Hotel, Mayfair (left), Prince Andrew’s former wife reveals that their daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, have been tasked with organising a birthday extravaganza to remember.

‘I have no idea what I’m going to do to celebrate, but here’s hoping the girls organise the party of the century.’ Yikes!

Sarah, Duchess of York (middle) has insisted that sixty can still be sexy as she approaches the age milestone

Jade Jagger has turned round the fortunes of her jewellery business – with a little help from the Rolling Stones.

Sir Mick Jagger’s daughter launched a range of baubles to coincide with the band’s most recent tour and has seen her finances buck a downward trend. 

Jade Jagger Ltd made a loss of £30,000 in 2017, but new accounts reveal that sales picked up and it made a £104,000 profit last year after she launched the rockers’ range, which includes a £2,900 diamond tongue pendant based on the band’s logo.

Historian Dame Mary Beard is focusing on the future, as she’s become a grandmother. 

Her daughter, Zoe Cormack, has given birth to her first child. ‘My daughter’s name is Ifeyinka,’ Zoe tells me. 

The African origins of her partner, scientist Akin Odeleye, are believed to have inspired the baby’s name.

Colin Firth’s son Will followed his Oscar-winning father into acting, even appearing opposite him in Bridget Jones’s Baby. 

Now Will’s engaged to a woman who bears a striking resemblance to his stepmother, Livia Firth.

He’s to marry Amelie Edwards, an actress with Mediterranean looks who even speaks Italian like Livia. 

Colin Firth pictured with wife Livia Firth at the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange exhibition in London

Colin Firth’s son Will (right is engaged to Amelie Edwards (left) who bears a striking resemblance to his stepmother

‘I can confirm that they are engaged,’ Amelie’s spokesman tells me.

Will, 29, is the son of Colin’s ex-girlfriend, the actress Meg Tilly, and grew up in her native Canada. 

‘He’s a classy Englishman, I’m more the tall, gangly Canadian,’ Will has said of his father, who starred in The King’s Speech.

Will relocated to London from Vancouver nine years ago to attend drama school. His father lived in a log cabin in Canada with The Big Chill star Tilly in the Eighties.

Phones tycoon John Caudwell is sick of people mocking him over the 32 years that separate him and his girlfriend, Lithuanian Modesta Vzesniauskaite.

‘People always snipe at us about our age gap,’ the 67-year-old co-founder of Phones4U tells me at a bash for his charity, Caudwell Children. 

‘Whether in public or online, they can’t help it. Some people are jealous, either because they want to be with me or with Modesta.

‘And why wouldn’t they want to be with me? I’m a bit old, but I’m still alive and kicking.’ And with a reputed £1.8bn fortune, he might have added.

Phones tycoon John Caudwell is sick of people mocking him over the 32 years that separate him and his girlfriend, Lithuanian Modesta Vzesniauskaite

Samantha Cameron said that men are oblivious to how sexual comments make women feel uncomfortable

Samantha Cameron is one of society’s most sought-after guests, but she does have to put up with some ghastly fellow party-goers.

‘Men are quite oblivious to the fact that women don’t feel comfortable having sexual comments made about us the whole time,’ says David Cameron’s wife. 

‘I remember dinner parties where that happened and men didn’t really realise. A lot of the time women think, “I’m not going to say I didn’t feel comfortable with that because they’ll think that I’m boring, haven’t got a sense of humour, I’m frigid”.’ 

Speaking at designer Misha Nonoo’s Female Empowerment Panel at her pop-up store in Marylebone, she adds: ‘We have to keep reminding men that sometimes there are things we might not be comfortable with. 

‘I’ve had a lot of discussions with women — particularly in law or in the City — and they said, “I basically dress in a burka when I go into work”.’

When you’ve finished a piece of fruit, do you throw the peel in the bin?

Countryfile presenter Anita Rani shoves the leftovers on her delightful visage. ‘If I’ve just eaten a papaya, I’ll scrape out the last bits and stick them on my face,’ discloses the privately educated 41-year-old. ‘I like natural beauty and use a lot of what is in my fridge. Yoghurt is really good for your skin.’

She admits her beauty regime alarms her spouse, tech exec Bhupinder Rehal. ‘My husband is always saying: “What are you doing?”‘ As long as Anita doesn’t try it with the bananas and custard . . .  

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