Queen remains nation’s favourite royal with Andrew least popular, poll suggests

The example set by the monarch, particularly over the past two years, is likely to have won her a lot of new admirers, according to one commentator.

17 February 2022

The Queen has grown in popularity and remains the nation’s favourite royal as she celebrates her Platinum Jubilee, while her second son the Duke of York languishes at the bottom of the list.

Polling shows the 95-year-old monarch is followed in the popularity stakes by her grandson and his wife, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – a couple who will one day reign as king and queen consort.

It is the first time Kate has jumped above William to be the second most popular royal, polling organisation Ipsos said.

PA infographic showing popularity of royal family members
(PA Graphics)

The survey was conducted ahead of a turbulent week for the royal family, which has seen Andrew settle a civil sex case with his accuser, and heir-to-the-throne the Prince of Wales facing the possibility of being interviewed by police over an alleged cash-for-honours scandal.

Andrew, whose out-of-court settlement commentators said leaves him tarnished but protects the royal family from any potential damage of a public trial, has an unchanged position in polling since last year.

He is named as being one of the most liked by 2% of people, while the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who stepped down as senior royals in March 2020, have both tumbled in popularity since last year.

The country’s continued admiration for the Queen could be explained by her long reign representing a “tradition and stability” people crave, according to one royal expert.

Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, said the example she had set over the course of the past two years in particular was likely to have gained her some new admirers.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to Lancashire last month
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit to Lancashire last month (Danny Lawson/PA)

He told the PA news agency: “For many people, the Queen is the only monarch that we’ve known, so even in this rather cynical 21st century age, she represents tradition and stability which we still crave at various times.

“It’s been a difficult two years for all of us and to have seen how she has coped with it, and led by example in many ways – we might reflect on Prince Philip’s funeral in particular – I think has won her a lot of new admirers.”

In remarks likely to raise some concern over her frailty, the Queen indicated she had trouble moving during an in-person audience on Wednesday – the monarch’s first since a Covid scare a week earlier.

The Palace has continued to refuse to confirm whether she tested positive or negative, citing medical privacy, and saying only that she was not displaying any symptoms.

Also on Wednesday, police announced an investigation into an alleged cash-for-honours scandal launched after Charles and his former most trusted aide Michael Fawcett were reported to officers over the claims.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to Alexandria in Egypt in November
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to Alexandria in Egypt in November (Peter Nicholls/PA)

Charles, who is sixth in the polling behind his sister the Princess Royal, is said to be “happy” to help with the investigation if asked, with Clarence House having previously said the prince had “no knowledge” of the alleged scandal.

The Duchess of Cornwall, who was warmly endorsed by the Queen earlier this month in terms of the future role she will play alongside Charles when he ascends the throne, is eighth in the polling.

Camilla is up three percentage points on March 2021, and sits below Harry and just above Meghan on the list.

The polling, carried out online between February 9 and 10, asked 2,057 British people aged between 16 and 75 a series of questions including which royals they liked the most and their views on the future of the monarchy.

Almost half (45%) of people named the Queen as one of their most liked royals, a rise of five percentage points since March 2021, while Kate rose by seven percentage points to 34% and William increased by three points to 31%.

PA infographic showing future of British monarchy
(PA Graphics)

In contrast, Harry fell by 12 percentage points to 13% while Meghan dropped by five percentage points to 8%.

In an intervention that will significantly shape the future of the monarchy, the Queen used the milestone of her Platinum Jubilee on February 6 to issue her royal seal of approval for the Duchess of Cornwall as Queen Camilla.

Of those polled, 38% said they would support Camilla in the role while 28% said they would oppose it and 29% were indifferent.

According to the survey, more than a fifth (22%) thought it would be better for Britain if the monarchy was abolished, a rise from 15% in March 2018.

Almost a third (31%) of those aged 18 to 34 said it would be better if the institution was done away with, a rise in this age group from 23% last March.

Popularity of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex has waned, according to a poll (Yui Mok/PA)
The poll suggested the popularity of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex has waned (Yui Mok/PA)

The figure for those aged 55 to 77 was 13%, unchanged since last year.

Gideon Skinner, head of political research at Ipsos in the UK, said: “There is no denying that the royal family has had a turbulent few years, but public opinion still contains more supporters than critics of the institution.

“In the run up to the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, Queen Elizabeth II remains the most popular member of the royal family, with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also cementing their position.”

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