By Mikhaila Friel /
August 29, 2019
"The Lion King" European Premiere - Red Carpet Arrivals
Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

This article originally appeared on

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle haven't had the easiest time on social media lately.

Their Instagram account, Sussex Royal, received huge praise when it was created back in April. But since then, the couple have come under scrutiny for the way they handle their PR.

Hiring a $36,600-a-year social media guru could be one way to improve the situation.

Burberry's former Global Social Media Co-ordinator, David Watkins, has confirmed via his LinkedIn profile that he's the couple's new Digital Communications Lead.

A royal source told The Sun: "Harry and Meghan want to conquer the world and they want to do it through the prism of social media to really connect with their followers.

"David is the perfect person to help them do this: his amazing video skills and visionary photographs have already been wiser praised by the Sussexes' fans."

Watkins, 26, describes himself on LinkedIn as a "marketing, sporting and travel fanatic with both experiences on and off these fields, an International hockey player, Ironman and four-time marathon finisher with passion and knowledge of these sectors."

He goes on: "Constantly challenging the status quo with a 'start with why' attitude, I find myself becoming more and more intrigued with finding scenarios outside of my comfort zone and asking the question 'How can I help others?'"

Harry and Markle have also hired a new private secretary, The Sun reports.

A source told the newspaper that Fiona Mcilwham has been hired to "rescue their reputation" after the recent controversies surrounding the couple.

The duke and duchess were criticized this summer after it was revealed they spent $3 million renovating their 10-bedroom mansion, Frogmore Cottage.

Many commentators argued that since they are living off public funds, their social media presence should also be more personal — meaning more baby photos.

The couple have only ever shown a handful of pictures of baby Archie, and in most of those, his features have been largely concealed.

"It's the tussle between their desire to control media access to parts of their family life, such as Archie's christening, and their public roles as part of the taxpayer-funded Royal Family that has fueled some of the criticism against the couple," Sky News royal correspondent Rhiannon Mills told the Express.

Although Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the new hires, royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliams told Insider that their new focus on social media is an attempt to "target millennials."

"The need for a rethink in their handling of public relations has been evident in several areas, including the handling of Archie's birth, of the christening, and most recently of their use of private jets after speeches and interviews about climate change and the interview with Harry in Vogue where he implied they would be having a maximum of two children to save the planet," said Fitzwilliams.

Harry in particular faced backlash for taking a private jet to Elton John's home in Nice after reportedly delivering a speech on the impact of climate change at Google Camp.

Both Harry and Markle have been outspoken on their stance on environmental issues, with Harry recently urging fans to "leave something better behind for the next generation" during an interview with British Vogue.

However, John later came to the royal's defence, saying he paid for the jet to be carbon neutral.

Fitzwilliams went on: "The appointment of David Watkins to handle digital communications shows the importance they attach to social media which is pivotal to their global reach and most especially to millennials whom they are particularly targeting.

"The purpose of their new team will support their roles as a dynamic charitable duo with global reach. It should succeed very well."

He added: "Hopefully they will now appear more grounded with an eye on their home base, which is taxpayer funded."