August is always a dangerous time to be Prince Charles.
Summer 2017 is proving to be particularly gruesome in the court of public opinion for the prince and his consort, as the annual wave of Diana-related stories to mark the anniversary of her death on Aug. 31, 1997, has been given added impetus by this year’s 20th anniversary of her demise.
As Diana news, Diana tapes, and Diana tributes have flooded the media once again, Charles (the husband who told his wife: “I refuse to be the only Prince of Wales never to have a mistress,”) and Camilla (the temptress who pursued an affair that destroyed Diana’ marriage) have come in for a particularly forceful annual hiding.
Prince Charles’ officials have always publicly maintained that Camilla will be known as “princess consort” however, as The Daily Beast exclusively revealed this year that Charles is secretly planning to unilaterally declare Camilla “queen” upon accession to the throne.
Both surveys were carried out by accredited polling organizations and both involve credible samples: The Sunday Express survey interviewed 2,018 U.K.-based adults and the Sun spoke to a sample of 2,000 people.
Equally depressing for Charles will be the news that he remains unloved by the populace at large.
Some 51 percent of respondents in the Sun survey said they thought the crown should skip a generation and pass next to Prince William.
The poll results come as Charles has been battered by weeks of damaging headlines ahead of the anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.
In tapes recorded by her voice coach—and played on a Channel 4 documentary last week—Diana said that when she challenged Charles about his affair with Camilla he responded: “I refuse to be the only Prince of Wales never to have a mistress.”
Charles was also, some felt, criticized by omission when, in an ITV documentary, Charles and Diana’s sons, William and Harry, paid warm and emotional tributes to her as “the best mum in the world,” but made no mention whatsoever of their father.
The poll numbers will make miserable reading for Charles.
When asked by a U.S. network in 2012 whether his wife could be queen, he said: “We’ll see won’t we? That could be.”
In recent years, the duchess had also appeared to be winning over fans with her public work, and events around her 70th birthday in July had apparently been well-received.
Charles has always cherished the hope that Camilla would one day be accepted by the public.
However, it appears from these new numbers that there is double trouble at Clarence House, for as well as remaining unenthusiastic about his wife, the great unwashed don’t seem overly enamored with the future King Charles III either.
Of course, opinion polls come and go and we have been here before.
The Daily Beast’s sources have repeatedly assured us there is a greater chance of a snowball making it through the fires of hell without melting than there is of Charles giving up his birthright and destiny.
But Charles is surprisingly practical—and if he has to throw the Camilla-as-queen idea under the bus of public opinion to achieve his own accession, he may well yet decide it is in his best interests to do so.