Just a few days after Queen Elizabeth announced Camilla Parker Bowles would be named queen when Prince Charles ascends to the throne, a survey of British popular opinion has found a dramatic improvement in the popularity of his second wife.
The first poll to be conducted since Her Majesty gave Camilla her official endorsement, taken for the Daily Mail and published Wednesday, found that 55 percent of those surveyed supported the move to formally elevate Camilla to queen-in-waiting.
Even more astonishingly, just 28 percent were opposed, with the remainder either not caring or having no opinion on the matter.
Exactly half of the sample said they respected Camilla, while 39 percent said they did not respect her. Eleven percent said they had no opinion.
The queen’s announcement last week was a stark contradiction to a long-held pledge that she would only be a princess out of respect for the memory of Princess Diana.
The figures show a significant boost for Charles and Camilla, with 51 percent now saying the crown should not jump a generation and go directly to Prince William when the queen dies. Some 35 percent of those surveyed said they still favor that move, though it is impossible under current constitutional arrangements.
In the context of wider personal popularity ratings, despite significant improvements in their ratings, Charles and Camilla are both still among the less popular royals: Camilla has a +21 rating, which has risen an astonishing 16 percentage points since a similar survey was done last March. (Popularity ratings work by asking people if they like or dislike a person; a zero rating means that equal numbers of people like and dislike the person.)
Unsurprisingly, Prince Andrew, embroiled in sexual-assault allegations, is far and away the least popular royal, with an approval rating of -82. However, the virulence of dislike for Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle in the U.K. is likely to surprise fans of the royals overseas, where they are much more popular: Meghan has a rating of -30 and Prince Harry is at -13, down an astonishing 27 percentage points.
The monarch herself has a stratospheric approval rating of +75.
There is, as so often with public opinion and the royals, an age divide, with people over the age of 45 likely to approve of Camilla by a significantly greater margin. While 64 percent of those over 45 who responded said yes to her as queen, among those under 45, the figure falls to 44 percent.
The poll surveyed a sample of the population, with 1,054 adults across the U.K. being asked their opinions.
The results will be seen as a vindication of the queen’s decision to formalize and legitimize Camilla as the next queen.
Given that Camilla was one of the most reviled women in the U.K. in the years immediately after Diana’s death in 1997, the results are a testament to her careful and slow campaign to court the public and the media.
It is interesting to note, however, that 58 percent of respondents still believe that Princess Diana would have made a better queen than Camilla, and an astonishing 68 percent said that William and Kate would be a better king and queen than Charles and Camilla.