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Instagram users and keen Royal watchers had their hopes raised and unexpectedly dashed yesterday – because it looked, for a brief second, like Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle had made a return to her personal Instagram.

Eagle-eyed fans noticed her previously rather active account spring back to life on their timelines. It had been deactivated in January, shortly after the announcement of her engagement to Prince Harry, marking her passage on the way to becoming officially royal.

The joy was short-lived though, with a mere technical hiccup accounting for the reappearance, as tweeted by Royal commentator Omid Scobie:

His guess is as good as ours. Maybe it happens to accounts all the time, unnoticed. The handle, @meghanmarkle, once contained many a personal post from Markle, from vacations with pals, to glimpses inside her Toronto home, memes, inspirational quotes, and a snap that looked suspiciously like an off-duty Prince Harry in a Golden Girls sweatshirt back in October 2016:

Instagram/@meghanmarkle

There were also plenty of snaps of her lifestyle venture The Tig, with Markle championing various causes close to her heart, photoshoots, makeup tips – pretty much everything you’d expect from a lifestyle brand. And in the brief minutes the account was re-activated, most of her old posts were fully visible. However, a few which had been shared in the time we now know she was seeing Prince Harry were missing, leading some to guess they had been manually deleted or archived before the account itself was deactivated.

Luckily, some unofficial fan accounts have preserved some of her old posts for posterity, some of which she might not be posting now (even if she was allowed to have an account).

For example, one of her dad Thomas Markle, praising her performance on Suits.

Instagram/@meghanmarkle

Or this one, criticizing Brexit. We all know the Royals aren’t meant to publicly voice their political opinions.

Instagram/@meghanmarkle

She had some good ol’ regular insta posts too:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Meghan Markle (@thetigunofficial) on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Meghan Markle (@thetigunofficial) on

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Meghan Markle (@thetigunofficial) on

Whilst it’s not against the royal rules to be on social media per se, it’s understood to be against convention to have personal accounts. According to a palace source, as Markle had not used her accounts in a while, she had “taken the decision to close them.” We wonder. Instead, both Buckingham Palace, for the Royal Family at large, and Kensington Palace, for Princes William and Harry, have an official online presence on various social media channels. Less high-profile royals such as Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, and Prince Andrew use their accounts more personally, but it’s fair to say they enjoy far less scrutiny.

It’s hard to say if the Palace had a hand in Markle’s decision to step back from social media. A GIF featuring the Duchess from last week’s British Fashion Awards mysteriously disappeared from the Insta accounts of the Awards and a designer, apparently on royal orders, suggesting they will be keeping a tight rein on her social media presence in future. For now though, her personal account may be gone – but in some shape or form, what’s posted online, stays online.