After a tumultuous week for the Royal Family following Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah, the latest research by Redfield & Wilton Strategies shows that support for the Monarchy remains high in Great Britain—especially among older age groups and those who voted Conservative in the 2019 Election.
55% of respondents said they support the institution of the Monarchy, 28% of whom said they strongly support it. By contrast, only 16% oppose the Monarchy, while a quarter (25%) said they neither support nor oppose it.
Support is highest among those aged 45-54 (64%), 55-64 (63%), and 65 and over (61%), compared to 40% of 25 to 34-year-olds. There are also significant differences on the basis of 2019 vote: 75% of 2019 Conservative voters, compared to 45% of 2019 Labour voters, said they support the institution of the Monarchy.
Overall, 49% of respondents believe the Monarchy is fit for purpose in modern Britain, whereas 31% believe it is not fit for purpose, and a further 21% say they do not know.
2019 Conservative voters are also much more likely to agree that the Monarchy is fit for purpose in modern Britain, at 68%. By contrast, only 37% of 2019 Labour voters hold this view.
The British public is evenly split on whether they would support the abolition of the Monarchy in the United Kingdom after the current reign of Elizabeth II comes to an end, with 36% saying they would support an abolition and 36% saying they would oppose. 22% would neither support nor oppose it.
However, when asked about whether they would support the continuation of the monarchy following the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, a majority (51%) said they would be supportive, while 17% said they would oppose it. As such, abolition appears to invigorate a strong opposition, even if a minority one, far greater than a continuation of the monarchy would invoke.
Slightly over half (52%) of Britons think there should not be a referendum on whether to retain the Monarchy after Elizabeth II. Conversely, 30% of respondents said there should be a referendum on the matter. These figures highlight that active support for the monarchy might be less widespread than thought, yet the ambivalence of many Britons essentially translates into an opposition to have a referendum that would disturb the status quo.
The majority of Britons therefore seem willing to retain the Monarchy—but not necessarily in its current line of succession. When asked if the Monarchy should be passed down to Prince Charles, or to skip him and be passed down to Prince William, 51% of respondents said the Crown should pass to Prince William instead of Prince Charles. This opinion was shared by majorities of both 2019 Conservative voters (53%) and 2019 Labour voters (56%), as well as pluralities or majorities of all age groups.
Whether or not the claims made by Meghan and Harry in their recent interview have damaged the public perception of the Monarchy, support for the institution generally remains high—with less than a fifth (16%) of the British public opposing it. There is not a great desire to see a referendum held on whether to retain the Monarchy, but if it ever came to that, a third (36%) of Britons said they would support its abolition after the reign of Elizabeth II. Younger age groups and those who voted for Labour in 2019 are the most likely to support the institution’s abolition, while older age groups and 2019 Conservative voters are the most staunchly opposed to abolishing the Monarchy.