Kevin Keiley, 55, of Worthing, created his Instagram account with the handle @sussexroyal around three years ago.
He chose the name because he is from Sussex and supports Reading FC – who are nicknamed The Royals.
But when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex launched their own Instagram account earlier this week he found his account name had been taken and replaced with @_sussexroyal_.
Instagram has claimed his handle was swapped to ‘avoid digital squatting’.
Kevin Keiley, 55, of Worthing (pictured) created his Instagram account with the handle @sussexroyal around three years ago. He chose the name because he is from Sussex and supports Reading FC – who are nicknamed The Royals
Mr Keiley admits that he didn’t have a huge following on Instagram and hadn’t posted very often but says he would have liked Harry and Meghan (pictured) to have been asked first
He told BBC Newsbeat he only realised what had happened when his son joked that Harry and Meghan had ‘stolen his Instagram’.
He said: ‘I got a jokey text from my son which said ‘Ha ha, I see your handle has gone then’.
‘I thought ‘What’s that all about?’ He said ‘Look on Instagram’ so I looked on Instagram and suddenly my handle wasn’t @sussexroyal anymore it was @_sussexroyal_ It had been taken.’
Mr Keiley was relieved to find he is ‘still the only @sussexroyal on Twitter’ and claims his following has ‘gone mad’ – going from four to nearly 270 in 24 hours.
He tweeted yesterday: ‘I am still the only @sussexroyal on twitter. This is the original and only Sussexroyal. We talk about supporting Reading FC.’
The Duke, 34, and Duchess, 37, of Sussex still use the @KensingtonRoyal account used by Prince William and Kate Middleton.
The 55-year-old created his Twitter account nine years ago but has only posted a handful of times.
Sussex Royal’s Instagram account launched earlier this week with the bio ‘The official Instagram account of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’
Kevin Keiley has had the Twitter name @Sussexroyal for nine years. Pictured is a post from 2013
His new followers rushed to his support, commenting: ‘Hold strong Kevin!! In your wildest dreams did you ever think this would happen!! I’m here for it!!’
Another posted: ‘You certainly are! Don’t let anybody bully you.’
Mr Keiley admits that he didn’t have a huge following on Instagram and hadn’t posted very often but says he would have liked to have been asked first.
He is trying to raise his Twitter profile by tweeting regularly in a bid to stop the royal couple poaching his other account.
But he says the pressure of the situation has not been pleasant, adding: ‘I didn’t ask for this. I’ve had the account for years – it’s not very pleasant.’
He posted yesterday: ‘Hello Harry and Meghan. If you do want my Twitter account as well can you at least have the decency to speak to me?’
Harry, 34, and Meghan ,37, are pictured on the day they announced their engagement in 2017, before the Queen gave them the title the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
He says he may return to Instagram but ‘won’t be following the royals’.
MailOnline has contacted Instagram for further comment.
The Sussexes new account, described by an expert as ‘highly stylised’, racked up a staggering 150,000 followers in just 30 minutes, and now boasts 3.4million.
Among the followers are celebrities David Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow, as well as Princess Eugenie who commented ‘welcome cousins’.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex‘s first post – which announced they were joining the social network along with a gallery of their highlights – received 755,000 likes by Wednesday morning.
A second post was uploaded yesterday to mark Prince Harry’s trip to a YMCA centre in South Ealing, west London. It has already had nearly 400,000 likes.