What does the British public think of the Royal Family?

Prince William is the preferred choice to succeed the Queen as monarch

The Royal Family
Royal Family members at the Commonwealth Day Service 2020
(Image credit: Phil Harris/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

The Royal Family has faced drama after drama over the past few years, before the world pandemic was even thrown into the mix.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex rocked the institution by quitting their senior roles and leaving the country last year, which took some of the focus away from Prince Andrew’s links to disgraced sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Almost two million people watched the Duke of York grilled on Newsnight in November 2019 in what was later described as a “car-crash” interview, but the numbers paled in comparison to the 12.4 million viewers who watched Harry and Meghan’s tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey last month.

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There have been car crashes and hospital stays for Prince Philip, Covid diagnoses for Prince Charles and Prince William, and persistent rumours about family feuds.

In brighter news for the family, Princess Eugenie and Zara Tindall, daughter of Princess Anne, have had babies this year, Princess Beatrice had a secret wedding last summer and the Queen was praised for her uplifting speech during the early months of the coronavirus outbreak. So what does the British public make of all of this?

The view on ‘Megzit’

A Deltapoll survey for the Daily Mirror, published today, found that just over half of the 1,590 British adults questioned thought that Harry and Meghan had “damaged the reputation of the royal family”. Around a third thought they had made no difference to the family’s standing, while just 9% thought their reputation had been improved.

Younger people were more sympathetic to the couple, but overall “a margin of more than two to one – 58% against 23% – believe they should be stripped of their royal titles”, notes the Mirror.

The most popular royals

Prince William is the favourite royal, according to YouGov, which tracks the family’s popularity every quarter. The opinion ratings, for the final few months of 2020, show that the Queen is in second place, followed by the Duchess of Cambridge. Princess Anne and Prince Philip round out the top five. Prince Harry and Meghan are in eighth and eleventh place respectively.

The Queen’s abdication

Only 41% of those surveyed by Deltapoll thought the Queen should remain on the throne until her death, 21% thought she should abdicate while in good health, while 27% thought she should step down if she was in poor health.

The future of the monarchy

The same survey found that only 27% of people wanted Prince Charles, the next in line to the throne, to eventually take over from his mother. Nearly half, 47%, wanted Prince William to become king instead of his father.

In addition, 18% of respondents said Britain should no longer have a monarchy when the Queen’s reign ends.

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