The most popular British royals in 2023

Prince Harry’s favorability rating drops to a new low

The UK Royal Family
(Image credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images)

Princess Anne has become the most popular British royal four months on from the Queen’s death.

Prince Harry’s tell-all interviews and memoir, Spare, have sparked weeks of “royal rowing”, pushing the Duke of Sussex’s net favourability rating to a new low, said YouGov.

Embarrassment in the monarchy has risen, up from 15% in September to 21% this month. The trend was particularly pronounced among young respondents.

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Amid the drama, all of the royals have taken a popularity hit, leaving Princess Anne at the top of the pile.

Princess Anne (net favourability 59)

Frequently cited as the most “hard-working” member of the royal family due to the number of engagements she undertakes – more than 200 in 2022 according to the Evening Standard – Princess Anne is now the most popular, too.

The late Queen’s second eldest child and only daughter was viewed positively by 72% of the 1,691 British adults surveyed on 10 and 11 January, around the time that Spare was released. This was a “similar figure” to Prince William (70%) and his wife Catherine (68%), but overall Anne was disliked by fewer people, giving her a higher net rating.

Princess of Wales (50)

The Princess of Wales faced damaging claims in Spare, including that a fraught text exchange over bridesmaid dresses left Meghan Markle “sobbing on the floor”. But she remains one of the most popular members of the royal family.

As well as carrying out royal duties, Kate has dedicated her time to supporting a number of charitable causes and organisations, with a particular focus on mental health and children.

Prince of Wales (49)

William topped a similar YouGov poll of popularity in September, but has since fallen to third place. He also faced a number of potentially damaging headlines thanks to revelations in his brother’s memoir, including claims that he once knocked Prince Harry to the floor.

Despite Charles’s ascension to the throne, William remains more popular than his father and is therefore “very much central to the success of the Carolean age”, royal biographer Andrew Morton told Reuters. With the King already in his 70s, “an awful lot of the future of the monarchy rests on the shoulders of Prince William”, he added.

King Charles (33)

King Charles’s rating has fallen since September and it seems unlikely he will enjoy the enduring popularity of his mother, the late Queen. That is partly because – coming to the throne at 72 – the King’s reign will be so much shorter, said historian Tom Devine.

“He certainly won’t reign for as long, so it could be a short-lived monarchy,” the historian told The Mirror, adding that Charles’s strategy should be to “completely follow his mother’s model” by doing the job “to the best of his ability, thoroughly and competently”.

Prince Edward (31)

The King’s youngest sibling stepped up his public outings just before his mother’s death. He was by the Queen’s side for the opening of the Elizabeth Line and has taken over from his late father as president of the Royal Windsor Horse Show.

Queen Consort Camilla (6)

After being “vilified” in the years after Princess Diana’s death, polls suggested Camilla had “earned a special place in the nation’s affections”, said the Daily Mail. However, Prince Harry painted his stepmother as one of the “main villains” in his recent biography.

She has lost some of the popularity she gained last year. Views on the new Queen Consort are fairly evenly split, with a 46% positive opinion and 40% negative.

Prince Harry (-44)

The latest YouGov poll revealed a sharp decline in public opinion of Prince Harry. His net favourability dropped from -1 in September to his lowest ever rating of -44.

The survey also found that while one in five Britons (21%) believe the main motivation behind the release of Spare was for the prince to tell his side of the story, around twice as many (41%) thought it was to make money.

Duchess of Sussex (-46)

Meghan Markle’s popularity also dropped from -28 four months ago to -46, lower than her husband’s. The couple appear to have lost the most support from so-called Baby Boomers. “In fact, Prince Harry and wife Meghan are now so disliked by older Britons that their popularity ratings are worse than Prince Andrew’s among the over-65s,” said YouGov.

Prince Andrew (-79)

Overall, Prince Andrew has the lowest net favourability rating, dropping by a further three points to -79 since September. His links to the disgraced sex offender Jeffrey Epstein rocked the royal family and put him firmly at the bottom of the rankings.

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