Barely 24 hours into its existence, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s YouTube channel is already shining a unique spotlight on their work. After launching a teaser to announce the new channel on Wednesday, the couple’s digital team on Thursday posted a new video of a call Kate made to a four-year-old leukemia patient Mila Sneddon, who was part of the Duchess’s Hold Still photography project. The project, of photographs taken during Britain’s coronavirus lockdown, has also been turned into a book that will be released Friday.
Speaking on the phone Mila can be heard greeting the Duchess as ‘Your Royal Highness’ while Kate tells the little girl “You are so polite.” It is one of several calls which took place last fall, when the Duchess spoke to a number of the finalists who shared their experiences of the lock down by submitting an image to the exhibition Hold Still. Kensington Palace has said the calls will be released on the YouTube channel over the coming days.
William and Kate are the only royals to have their own YouTube channel independently of the Royal Family’s own channel. Sources close to the Cambridges say that they are focused on their digital efforts, and have worked hard to build a successful social media campaign which has seen them amass millions of followers around the globe.
The Cambridges and their team of staff have invested in social media in recent years, launching successful Twitter and Instagram accounts, but there has been a concerted effort to make the content more frequent, personal and informative. There have been many more videos streamed across their platforms in recent months, as the royals sought new ways to work during the pandemic. Many of the video calls they took part in during the lock down to front line workers and NHS staff were streamed on their social channels, and more recently there have been more personal videos of the couple.
To celebrate their recent tenth wedding anniversary the Cambridges posted a charming, professionally shot video which captured the family at home in Norfolk off-duty. It has been viewed over a million times on You Tube in the past six days.
Sources close to William say that he is “more relaxed” about the media these days and more willing to embrace social media, despite having some concerns about the impact it can have on mental well-being.
“The move to social media has been on the cards for a long time, it was always going to be the future for the royals as well, but the pandemic has accelerated things,” said a well-placed source. “It has been a blessing in many ways for the royals in general because it means they are more in control of their public image than ever before.’”
Digital communications and social media are a growing sector of the Cambridges’ work. Last April the couple hired the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s former digital communications head to help with their social media, and there have been some major changes since then as the team has expanded. The Cambridges recently changed their handle on Instagram from Kensington Royal to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, which now has over 12.8 million followers.