King Billy?

Will Unpopular Charles Ever Be King?

New poll will reopen debate on succession

Stefan Wermuth / AFP / Getty Images

Prince Charles recently stated on his new website that his wife Camilla will never be Queen, taking the title of Princess consort instead on his accession to the throne.

But now the inevitability of Charles's coronation is being called into question once again, as a new poll shows that public support in the UK for Prince Charles is still declining, despite his intensive efforts to rebrand himself as a modern monarch in waiting, with just 21% of people now naming him among their two or three favorite members of the royal family in a new national poll. To make matters worse, his rating has actually slumped from 38% in 2001, suggesting that the Charles’s decade-long PR offensive has actually been counter-productive.

In a further blow for the monarch-in-waiting, just 2% of the public named his wife, Camilla as one of their favorite royals, shattering dreams that she may be taken to the hearts of the British people in the way Diana was. The rock-bottom rating may also go some way to explaining why Charles recently publicly stated on his website that Camilla will never be Queen.

Support for Prince Andrew has collapsed from 10% to 2% in the wake of the embarrassing scandal over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein, figures which suggest Charles was wise to cut Andrew out of the royal line-up after the jubilee.

Prince William is the most popular royal in recent history, with 62% of people naming him as a favourite, and support for the monarchy is on a 20-year high following the jubilee celebrations, according to the poll commissioned for London paper the Evening Standard.

William, 30, is well ahead of the Queen (48%), his wife Kate (23%) and Harry (36%). His 62% per cent is the highest rating achieved by a royal since the survey began in 1984.

The rankings will inevitably reopen the debate over whether the succession should jump a generation, missing out Charles. The poll questioned 1,104 adults.

Ipsos Mori director Roger Mortimore, professor of public opinion and political analysis at King’s College London, told the Standard: “A lot of people would like the idea of William succeeding straight away. He is young and good looking. I think young people can see something of themselves in William and Kate. They can see the monarchy looking more modern than it did beforehand.”

Prince Philip is unique among the older royals in seeing his popularity increase.

The Queen received £31 million this year for her official duties and 52 per cent agreed that “the royal family should not receive as much money as it does”, while 47 per cent disagreed.

However, the long-term future of the monarchy appears safe. Six in 10 believe Britain will have a monarchy in 50 years, and 42 per cent believe it will survive 100 years.

Professsor Mortimore said: “After a rocky period in the Nineties, public support for the monarchy and the Queen now looks as strong as it has been for many years.

Get The Beast In Your Inbox!

Daily Digest

Start and finish your day with the top stories from The Daily Beast.

Cheat Sheet

A speedy, smart summary of all the news you need to know (and nothing you don't).

By clicking “Subscribe,” you agree to have read the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
Thank You!
You are now subscribed to the Daily Digest and Cheat Sheet. We will not share your email with anyone for any reason.

“Most of the public now expect the monarchy to survive well into the future and that is probably the best guarantee that it will do so.”

The results will be considered at 1pm on Friday at a King’s College London during a public debate on the changing nature of the monarchy during the Queen’s reign.

Which two or three members of the royal family do you like most?

(Percentages; April 2001 in brackets)

Prince William 62 (22)The Queen 48 (39)Prince Harry 36 (7)Duchess of Cambridge 23 (n/a)Prince Charles 21 (38)Princess Anne 14 (28)Prince Philip 11 (5)Prince Andrew 2 (10)Duchess of Cornwall 2 (n/a)Prince Edward 1 (4)None 5 (13)